News10NBC Investigates: Busiest days/times in the emergency room

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the last few weeks, News10NBC has been investigating major back-ups at local emergency rooms.

Demand is high and staffing is low and unless you are going to die, you are going to wait. How long you wait could depend on the day of the week and the time of day you need care.

Any local healthcare leader will tell you that staffing shortages have been a problem for year, but over the last several weeks, the situation has grown worse and is now crippling nursing homes and hospitals.

Dozens of local nursing homes have closed their doors to new residents since the implementation of New York State’s vaccine mandate. As a result, people who need nursing or rehabilitation are backing up in local hospitals. Coinciding with that problem is a huge uptick in the number of people using local emergency rooms.

“It’s a nightmare and I am very concerned that we are one medical disaster away from collapse,” sayid Reg Allen, the chief executive officer of CHS Healthcare. Over the last few weeks, CHS and other local ambulance providers have had to wait, in some cases, more than two hours at local emergency departments to transfer the care of patients.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke with the Chair of Emergency Medicine at URMC about the situation.

Jennifer Lewke: Do you worry we’re nearing a crisis level?

Dr. Michael Kamali: I work in emergency medicine so, I am always worried and always stressed about how we might handle the next incident or the next thing.

Jennifer Lewke: Realistically, if I’m not in a life or death situation how long am I going to spend in your ED?

Dr. Kamali: Well, people ask that question, and the wait time really depends upon the condition.

Jennifer Lewke: Are there particular times of the day or days of the week that seem worse than others?

Dr. Kamali: Every day can be very busy and very crowded. For some reason, Mondays are always seemingly busier than others. We do follow a pattern, yes. The afternoon and early evenings always seems to be the busiest.

Those days and times appear to be consistent whether you can get yourself to the emergency room or if you have to take an ambulance, “late mornings, afternoons and then some early evenings tend to be our heaviest call volumes, that’s when we put the most crews on,” explains John Caufield, the chief operating officer of Monroe Ambulance.

If you don’t think it’s a matter of life and death, start with your primary care doctor if you have one. If not, consider urgent or prompt care if you can. You may still wait, but it will not be as long as it is likely to be at a local emergency room.