Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityGuilderland EMS seeing relief from long ER wait times after town implements new policy | WRGB
Close Alert

Guilderland EMS seeing relief from long ER wait times after town implements new policy

Guilderland EMS seeing relief from long ER wait times after town implements new policy (WRGB)
Guilderland EMS seeing relief from long ER wait times after town implements new policy (WRGB)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Wait times at the hospital have become a problem not just for patients, but also EMS workers.

In Guilderland, its town board – fed up with having their crews wait hours with their patients – have approved a policy for hospitals to compensate the town’s EMS crews for the excess time and resources spent in the emergency room caring for patients.

“It’s very difficult to respond to a call if you’re in the hospital treating a patient. We know that the hospitals have significant issues, but we don’t believe that the hospital issues should become EMS issues,” said Jay Tyler, Guilderland EMS Director.

The town board agreed – and unanimously approved protocols in November that allows Guilderland EMS workers to leave stabilized patients in the ER or bill the hospital for the excess time spent caring for more critically ill patients.

The new policy took effect at the beginning of the year.

MORE: Lengthy waits, inadequate care: Capital Region reports crisis in health care

“Although trying to work with the hospitals, we know we have an obligation to treat our community and serve our community– the patients in the community that need ambulances that dial 911, we’re the safety net for them,” said Tyler.

We checked in with the town to see if it has offered any relief.

And so far, so good, according to Tyler.

“Since then, it’s worked pretty good. I think we’ve only had one instance where we had a patient wait over an hour,” said Tyler.

He says he also noticed more collaboration from hospitals since the policy took effect.

“I can say, after the town board passed the policy, both St. Peter’s and Albany Medical Center have initiated some programs to alleviate the situation, at least get some EMS crews back into service,” said Tyler.

MORE: Rensselaer woman waited 50 hours to be seen in ER; died one month later, family says

CBS 6 reached out to Albany MedIcal Center and St. Peter’s Health Partners.

“We are currently developing protocols that will allow us to staff paramedics in the emergency department to assist us in accepting patients who arrive by ambulance,” said Sue Ford Rajchel, Director of Communications at Albany Med, in a statement to CBS6.

A spokesperson with St. Peter’s Health Partners sent a statement saying, “We hold regular discussions with local EMS agencies on how we can improve our collaboration during these challenging times, where COVID, RSV, a robust flu season and staffing shortages are all having an impact.”

MORE: Patient waits over 40 hours for a bed during ER visit

But Tyler hopes this issue gets addressed on a state level and has been in talks with local lawmakers.

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) says discussions on solutions are underway.

“It's this terrible ripple effect or this cascade effect. So much of this is due worker shortages and financial shortage, all of which we have to try to address in the budget. Some of this goes back to Medicaid reimbursement rates, some of this goes back to travel nurses that are fueling very intensive costs,” said Fahy.
Comment bubble

During Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address, she proposed initiatives to tackle this issue, including allowing EMTs, not just paramedics, to treat patients in place or take them to urgent care clinics to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits.

Loading ...