“A bill like this could maybe be helpful:” MD legislation could curb price hikes in health care field

MARYLAND- Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen prices sky rocket in all areas, from food, to medicine, and fuel, but some recently introduced Maryland legislation could curb those price hikes.

“A bill like this could maybe be helpful,” Linda Cornelius, a registered nurse and Executive Director at BayCare Assisted Living said.

A new bill recently introduced in the General Assembly could stop companies from increasing prices on essential goods or services more than 10% during and for 90 days after a state of emergency. This includes health staffing services where agencies have upped their nursing wages.

“Of course, a lot of that is due to supply and demand there’s been a huge demand for nurses given the nursing shortage,” Dr. Sally Dowling, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Atlantic General, said.

Delmarva health officials said the rates for travel nurses increased tremendously compared to what they were before COVID-19.

“For instance, I got a message on my phone that there was a nursing job available for me as a supervisor in New Mexico and it was a $10,000 sign on bonus, $4,500 a week, a stipend, pay your car payment, and pay your gas,” Cornelius said.

And, these higher wages are putting an extra strain on some health care organizations, especially those who don’t have a huge profit margin.

“It’s very difficult as a health care organization, we need to have the staffing, we need to of course have the right people, and the right number of them,” Dr. Dowling said.

So, health officials we spoke with said they do think this bill could make a positive difference in capping expenses for these services, but they do have concerns.

“It could help them, but my concern would be are they going to be able to retrieve these nurses, since these nurses have been used to the high pay,” Cornelius said.

Dr. Sally Dowling with Atlantic General Hospital said we could run into the problem where state’s don’t end up having this same legislation in place, which as a result, make hospitals lose nurses in Maryland.

Dr. Dowling also said we need to realize that sometimes those higher wages for travel nurses aren’t always passed down to nurses, in some situations a lot of that money goes to travel-nurse agencies.

Categories: Local News, Maryland