SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– With more people calling 911, less staff, and wait times soaring, one paramedic said the situation is dire.
“I feel like we’re on the brink of a collapse in the healthcare system,” NAVAC’s Assistant Director of Operations, Jason Casanova said.
He said the strain on the healthcare system has been made worse since the vaccine mandate went into effect, causing hospitals to go on diversion more often. That’s when a hospital closes its doors to ambulances for a four-hour block to catch up with its current patient load.
“But now it’s daily that we have hospitals going on diversion and a lot of times it’s at least two hospitals on diversions, so that’s 50% of the hospitals in the City of Syracuse,” he said.
That’s why the New York State Department of Health issued a directive Friday night mandating that when all four hospitals in the City of Syracuse go on diversion at the same time, EMS units will bring patients to each hospital on a rotating basis.
“When somebody calls 911 we arrive at the home, we’re going to try and figure out what exactly is going on. The lead provider will then have to contact med control through University Hospital and they will then direct us on what hospital to transport that patient to,” Casanova said.
The alternative was taking patients to other hospitals like Utica, Rochester, or Auburn where Casanova said the situation is just as worse.
“I think that this plan can help in balancing the workload, I do not think this plan is going to do anything in shortening the wait times in which we’re all experiencing,” he said.
Casanova is urging his community members to think twice before picking up the phone and asking people to make sure they’re calling for a true emergency.