For Immediate Release January 04, 2022

UM St. Joseph Medical Center is committed to supporting our workforce and caring for our community. During the last month, UM St. Joseph has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, substantial boarding in our Emergency Departments and significant staffing shortages.

The current demand for care is depleting our available resources, including staffing, and as of January 3, 2022, UM St. Joseph is taking the unprecedented step for our organization of declaring a hospital disaster and implementing Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) protocols.

"We have monitored this increasingly alarming situation and know that the critical response of CSC is necessary. The current healthcare demand is far outpacing our available resources. These standards provide a framework allowing our healthcare professionals flexibility to care for patients with the highest need," said Gail Cunningham, MD, FACEP, Senior Vice President Medical Affairs & Chief Medical Officer. "The standards are based on best practices and guided by ethical principles."

The University of Maryland Medical System (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 – are being used to determine how any of our hospitals activate CSC. UMMS and Hopkins have also worked together to consider all 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 Gov. Larry Hogan's recent orders, simplifying documentation, and redeploying staff. Implementing CSC protocols allows the flexibility to increase access to care for to those that need it most and enables the hospital to care for as many patients as possible with available staffing.

Thomas B. Smyth, MD, President and CEO, UM St. Joseph Medical Center, said, "While exhausted, our team members continue to show remarkable resiliency, providing the highest caliber of clinical care to our patients with a strong sense of loving service and compassionate care. Following CSC will support them in caring for our patients."

"Our priority is patient care, and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure our continued ability to treat all patients while supporting our workforce as they deal with extraordinary pressures," said David Marcozzi, MD, UMMS COVID-19 Incident Commander and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "This crisis designation allows the communities we serve to transparently understand the challenge we are facing so all of us can work to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and more of us can stay healthy."

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 patient care and what measures individuals can take to reduce the burden on our hospital.

About University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center

Founded in 1864 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, UM St. Joseph Medical Center is a 218-bed Catholic, not-for-profit regional medical center in Towson, Maryland, that offers a wide range of superb clinical programs and centers of excellence, including the Cancer, Heart and Orthopaedic Institutes, Women and Children's services and Emergency Medicine. The medical center's committed focus on zero patient harm, clinical excellence and perfect patient experiences spurred the creation of the hospital's unique approach to care, The UM St. Joseph Value Delivery System, and has consistently earned UM St. Joseph regional and national recognition for patient care and safety, including its ranking as the #1 community hospital in Maryland by U.S. News & World Report. UM St. Joseph is a proud member of the 13-hospital University of Maryland Medical System, dedicated to providing loving service and compassionate, leading-edge care to all.

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