For Immediate Release December 27, 2021


Sonia Hamlin:

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (December 27, 2021) - UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) has been unwavering in our mission to provide the highest quality healthcare to the communities we serve. During the last month, we have seen a substantial increase in COVID-19 positive patients.

The current demand for care is depleting our available resources, including staffing, and as of December 27, UM BWMC has taken the unprecedented step for our organization of declaring a hospital disaster and implementing Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) protocols. UM BWMC is the second University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) organization to implement CSC, as UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center implemented CSC several days ago.

"We have reached a critical point in the pandemic. We have made this difficult decision after exhausting all other avenues to address issues that are challenging our operations," said Neel Vibhakar, MD, MBA, UM BWMC Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. "CSC is another step in the continuum of care critical to hospital pandemic surge plans."

UMMS partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine to establish an approach for how our hospitals move to CSC, in line with recommendations from the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). Moving forward, these criteria – which have been presented to the State -- will be used to determine how any of our hospitals activate CSC. UMMS and Hopkins have also worked together to consider all of the regulatory implications of such a move.

Taking this action will enable the hospital to care for the increasing number of patients in the most safe and effective way during this crisis. A few of the changes under CSC protocols may include streamlining processes, modifying surgical schedules consistent with the Governor's recent orders, simplifying documentation and redeploying staff. Implementing CSC protocols allows the flexibility to increase access to care for those that need it most and enables the hospital to care for as many patients as possible with the staffing they have.

Kathy McCollum, President and CEO, UM BWMC, said, "Unfortunately, we are just at the beginning of this surge. The weeks ahead will only become more challenging. This is the right step to support our teams and to serve the many patients in our community who rely on us and trust us with their care."

David Marcozzi, MD, UMMS COVID-19 Incident Commander and Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said, "We are continually exploring all aspects of care delivery to identify new ways to match our resources with the significant patients requiring evaluation and treatment. All UMMS hospitals are maximizing their surge plans presently, which also means reducing surgical volumes by at least 20 percent, as directed by Governor Hogan."

Enacting CSC protocols also allows the hospital to manage expectations within our community about the reality of what our hospital is currently experiencing, how that may impact their care and what measures individuals can take to reduce the burden on our hospitals.

"There are steps each of us can take to reduce additional burden on hospitals," says Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD, Anne Arundel County Health Officer. "Get your vaccine or your booster, wear a mask when you're out in public, and if you're sick with mild symptoms stay home. These simple steps will decrease the spread and impact of COVID-19 in the months to come." 

About University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center

Located in Glen Burnie, Maryland, UM BWMC is an acute-care facility that is part of the University of Maryland Medical System. The medical center has 285 beds and more than 3,500 team members. It also has 1,000 medical providers on staff in over 50 specialties. For more information, visit

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state's future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore professional schools (Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry) in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system's more than 29,500 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations, including 13 hospitals and 9 University of Maryland Urgent Care centers. The UMMS flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care. Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. For more information, visit