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California lawmakers are addressing long ambulance waiting times in hospitals

Lawmakers at the State Capitol on Wednesday addressed long wait times when ambulances arrive in trouble, a chronic problem exacerbated by COVID-19 impacts. The Assembly Committee on Emergency Management heard from first aiders and hospital representatives from across the state. Panelists discussed the ongoing problem and potential solutions. "We can have up to eight to 10 ambulances sitting in the emergency rooms for up to 5 to 8 to 10 hours at a time, waiting for a bed," they say. said Captain Parker Wilbourn of the Sacramento Metro Fire Department. He said this means the ambulance is essentially out of service for the period of time, unavailable to respond to other 911 calls. He said it is a problem that has been going on for a long time before the pandemic began. But now first responders said that this ongoing problem has reached a crisis point. "It's a very challenging time right now and that's why we're seeing some of the frustration that comes through the testimony today," said Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.He said hospitals see over 40% more patients this time than during the increase last year, while also starting with 20% less staff. in the midst of this pandemic, people who really need care are being taken to the hospital and non-emergent and COVID tests are really staying out of the emergency room, "Bucklew said." That's what causes many of the backups and delays that have been exacerbated during this pandemic. "

Lawmakers at the State Capitol on Wednesday addressed long wait times when ambulances arrive in trouble, a chronic problem exacerbated by COVID-19 impacts.

The Assembly Committee for Emergency Management heard from first aiders and hospital representatives from across the state. Panelists discussed the ongoing problem and potential solutions.

First aiders say they are facing unreasonable delays in turning patients over to hospital treatment.

"We can have up to eight to 10 ambulances sitting in the emergency rooms for up to 5 to 8 to 10 hours at a time waiting for a bed," said Captain Parker Wilbourn of the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.

He said this means the ambulance is essentially out of service during that period, unavailable to respond to other 911 calls. He said it is a problem that has been going on for a long time before the pandemic began.

But now first aiders said this ongoing problem has reached a crisis point.

"It's a very challenging time right now, and that's why we're seeing some of the frustration that comes through the testimony today," said Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.

He said hospitals are seeing over 40% more patients this time than during the increase last year, while also starting with 20% less staff.

"I think the shortest thing we can do in the midst of this pandemic is to make sure that people who really need care go to the hospital and non-emergent and COVID tests really stay out of the emergency room. , "said Bucklew. "That is what is causing many of the backups and delays that have been exacerbated during this pandemic."

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