VIDEO: EMS Chief Calling for More Funding for Patient Diversion Program
Changes to the way Essex-Windsor EMS handles patient overflow has led to an unexpected problem.
For the past year, ambulances have been taking patients who need less severe treatment to Erie Shores Health Care in an effort to reduce response times and backlogs in Windsor's emergency rooms.
EMS Chief Bruce Krauter says the off load diversion program is working, but the additional patients in Leamington are putting a strain on resources.
He says more funding is needed to sustain the program.
"How do we get more funding to sustain Erie Shores? Because, although they have a great facility and great staff, when you add volume they do struggle. So they need the extra funding to maintain the excellent performance that they're doing because eventually it will become unsustainable."
Krauter says the hospital often has to call in extra staff.
"I have to give it to Erie Shores as they've gone above and beyond in helping out regionally across the board. The other piece is Erie Shores doesn't have a 24/7 lab or 24/7 diagnostic imaging. So what they're doing is having to call in staff to get those tests completed."
Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter attends the 2017 budget meeting for the county on February 1, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)
He says many out of town patients are admitted to the hospital as well.
"What they found is that the acuity level of those patients coming from different locations around the community were found to be admitted more. So then it not only takes up emergency department time, but it also takes up hospital resource time, physician time, testing."
According to Krauter, on average, the change has led to an additional five patients each day in Leamington which he says is a significant increase for a smaller hospital.
Adding fuel to the fire, Krauter says the number patient calls continues to increase each year across the region.