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CMH diverts ER patients due to higher than usual wait times

Sep 23, 2021 6:00 am

Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Columbia Memorial Health is currently diverting patients from its Emergency Room, hospital officials said Wed., Sep. 23. Reports started appearing on social media Tuesday, of patients spending hours in ambulances in the hospital parking lot, waiting to be brought inside the hospital ER in Hudson. In an announcement the next day, hospital officials said it is experiencing higher-than-normal wait times due in part to staffing shortages. People with minor ailments are being advised to visit one of the CMH Rapid Care Centers in Catskill, Copake or Valatie. “Numerous factors impacting the entire nation are creating unprecedented challenges for health care providers,” CMH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Clifford Belden said in a statement. Belden said a number of factors, including the vaccine mandate, have triggered an increase in hospital staff resignations. According to the CMH website, the wait times for the Emergency Department and Rapid Care centers as of Wednesday evening, were 3 hours for the Emergency Department and 20 to 30 minutes for Rapid Care. Columbia County EMS Coordinator P.J. Keeler said, “...I can tell you that we’ve been notified that they are on diversion for accepting patients by ambulance. In other words, basically when we pick up a patient, unless they’re critical, and if they’re critical they would go right there, but if not we would advise them of the extended wait times, and encourage the patient to request to be taken to another facility.” A patient could ask to be taken to Albany Medical Center, St. Peters Hospital in Albany, or Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck. Keeler explained that anytime any facility within the region goes on diversion it can add stress on the entire system. At an unrelated press conference in Niagara County Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul was asked about potential hospital staffing shortages next week in relation to staff vaccine requirements. Hochul said they want to make sure there are no disruptions and thanked health care professionals. “To those who refuse, we will find replacements,” she said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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