BUFFALO, NY - A tip on our tipline said some patients at several Buffalo hospitals have been waiting for hours to get care. We found that Kaleida Health and Catholic Health have had unusually long wait times in their emergency rooms for different reasons.
The tipster was specific about long waits at Buffalo General Medical Center and Mercy Hospital.
If you plan on being in a hospital in the Buffalo area soon, you may experience longer lines to see a doctor.
2 On Your Side took a look into this and according to Kaleida Health, which runs Buffalo General: "the new emergency department has been very busy. It's that time of year," said Michael Hughes, the vice president and chief marketing officer for Kaleida.
Hughes is referring to the fact that flu season is upon us and more patients have been going to Buffalo General to get care. Kaleida says in the past, ambulances have been diverted to other hospitals when its ER is busy.
As for Mercy, 2 On Your Side also checked in with Catholic Health, which operates the hospital and calls it the 'busiest emergency room in Western New York.'
"As of the recent closure in the community, there has been a disbursement over patients to other facilities," said Mark Sullivan, the chief operating officer for Catholic Health. He refers to the closure of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital.
In March, the facility shutdown and partnered with Buffalo General. According to Sullivan, there's been no overcrowding of emergency rooms, but a spike in patient volume. He says Catholic Health is up 10 percent from last year since Gates shut it's doors.
"The wait times at Mercy there are going to be some challenges at all hospitals, but overall Mercy has improved tremendously so it depends on the type of patient and also how sick they are," said Sullivan.
The spike breaks out to 15,000 more patients this year. That's 1,250 more patients per month and about 42 more per day.
Sullivan says Catholic Health is seeing the influx because geographically, it's easier for a former Gates patient to get to a Catholic Health hospital. He adds that 85 percent of their patients are seen in 15 minutes or less.
But for the others, they've been waiting.
And both Kaleida Health and Catholic Health hope future building expansions will help keep wait times down.
Health care professionals recommend you go to your primary care physician, probably outside of a hospital setting, for the appropriate care. They say this will help hospitals deal with wait times even better.
We also made contact with ECMC and Women and Children's Hospital. Both facilities say that they have not seen upticks in patient flow, mainly because they usually cater to specific patients.