NYC hospital data points to available beds, but healthcare professionals say otherwise

The dissonance seems to arise from the way public data is consolidated and the way hospitals choose the time of day to collect their numbers, which is not standardized. As a result, workers say, the state gets a more rosy picture than reality.

Benny Matthew, an emergency room nurse at the Moses campus at Montefiore Medical Center in the North Central Bronx and a board member of the New York State Nursing Association, said some patients wait up to two days.

“It’s so crowded that we have to move the stretcher to get from one bed to another,” Matthew said.

Matthew said there were 32 patients waiting for beds in the emergency room Wednesday night, and two more patients were waiting for beds in the intensive care unit. The conditions were confirmed by two other ambulance nurses who spoke to Crane on condition of anonymity and two written complaints sent to Montefiore’s management in the last week of December and received Crane

However, the data provided by Montefiore himself does not suggest such a problem. He publicly reported that the Moses campus was 75% busy on Wednesday with over 200 open beds.

In response to a detailed list of questions and results, Spokeswoman Montefiore said in a statement: “Like other health systems in the state that are fighting this pandemic, we provide accurate information to the Hospital Emergency Response System on a daily basis. reporting on the state of our hospitals at this critical juncture is misleading and irresponsible. “

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The press secretary did not answer additional questions.

The stakes are high for hospitals to contain the number. If their average occupancy reaches 90%, the state can order them suspend optional, selective procedures– the main source of income. The state health department relies on data provided by the hospitals themselves to make these decisions. A spokesman said Friday the department had not ordered city hospitals to suspend election procedures.

Hospitals have until 1:00 p.m. each day to submit their data, but they can calculate their numbers any time of the day – flexibility that medical professionals say can be used. The public dataset also aggregates adult and pediatric hospitals and does not indicate availability by bed type, although workers say beds are not always interchangeable.

The workers who spoke to Crane compared publicly available data with figures on internal dashboards of their hospitals and pointed out inconsistencies.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia in Washington Heights said its occupancy rate was 86% on Wednesday, but its occupancy rate, excluding the Children’s Hospital, was roughly 92% at noon Wednesday, according to the hospital’s internal control panel. The public data lists 20 ICU beds available, and the internal panel lists six ICU beds for adults.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said the boss said the patient could not be transferred to the intensive care unit because the vacant beds were mothballed. Employee employment has been independently verified Crane

In response to a detailed list of questions and results, a spokesman for the system only said, “We currently have enough beds in the intensive care unit.”

NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue in Keeps Bay said publicly that 12 intensive care beds were open Wednesday, but a medical professional, who requested anonymity, said there were only two that morning. An employee said the emergency department is struggling to find beds for patients who need to be hospitalized, although Bellevue publicly said it had 93 beds available on Wednesday.

Health + Hospitals said it is complying with state reporting requirements and is moving employees to understaffed facilities and units as needed.

“To cope with the growing demand for our hospital services, we continue to rely on proven strategies, including load balancing our system, increasing the number of beds, and recruiting additional nurses and medical staff to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to comprehensive medical care. – said a spokesman for Health + Hospitals.

Workers say bandwidth problems are intertwined with severe labor shortages. omicron burst infects New Yorkers and their caregivers in a vicious cycle.

Matthew said that ICU nurses usually see no more than one or two patients at a time due to the intense nature of the work. He had five on Wednesday.

Experts say that as the number of COVID cases in the city is skyrocketing, the situation has not yet reached its peak, with hospitalizations lagging behind by about two weeks.

While all workers interviewed Crane agreed that today’s COVID patients are less sick than in previous waves, they said rising hospitalizations and labor shortages are creating the perfect storm.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crane’s business in New York

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