VICTORVILLE-(VVNG.com): Victor Valley residents often complain about long emergency room wait times at local hospitals. Patients report waiting 6-12 hours on busy days at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Desert Valley Hospital and Victor Valley Global Medical Center. “This is not because of lack of concern or care, but it is a matter of patient triage,” said Randy Bevilacqua, the St. Mary’s Hospital VP Strategic Services. He said, “Wait time vary depending on how busy the hospital is. We work hard to make sure that the wait times are the least possible.”
On the scanner on any given day you will hear of hospitals being on “redirect”, “diversion” or having a “bed delay”. Bevilacqua explained the meaning of each of these, saying that redirect is to redirect ambulance traffic to another, less crowded hospital in the Victor Valley. Diversion does also does not affect the patient that shows up to the hospital, but only diverts ambulance traffic to another local hospital. A bed delay, he said, means that they are waiting for a bed to open up for the patient while the patient is already in a bed and being treated. The delay is only of the bed that the patient will be in for the remainder of their emergency room stay.
Bevilacqua says that the crowding in local hospital emergency rooms is not due to one particular thing. He said there is not a concern if the patient can pay or not, ability to pay would not prevent the patient from receiving care. He said a major problem is that many do not have access to healthcare or a regular physician. He also said that the services do not match the demand. He also said that patients that can be cared for in the urgent care are going into the emergency rooms, either because the urgent care is closed or they do not know that those services are available to them.
In order to help relieve some of the hospital delays, Bevilacqua says that St. Mary’s has extended their Urgent Care hours. Their urgent care, located on Hesperia Road near Bear Valley Road in Victorville. St. Mary’s is also planning to build an Urgent Care on the St. Mary’s Hospital Campus on Highway 18 in Apple Valley and a third is planned for the city of Hesperia.
When asked about concerns about natural disasters or other disasters with mass casualties, Bevilacqua said that all High Desert hospitals are very prepared for any kind of disaster. The state of California requires that they are prepared for natural disasters and the hospitals run regular drills. He also said that they have an extra supply of water, food and power.
Lovella Sullivan, the VP Marketing/Business Development for Victor Valley Global Medical Center said, “All of the hospital in the High Desert are working together on the issues and there are multiple contributors to the challenge.”