Downtown hospitals try to avert emergency room crisis

Christus-Santa Rosa closing its adult ER July 31

SAN ANTONIO - Already phasing out its adult services as Christus-Santa Rosa downtown transitions into becoming the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, a spokeswoman said its adult emergency room will close July 31.

“I don’t want to say it’s a health crisis,” said Dr. David Siegel, chief medical officer of the Baptist Health System. “I think it is a very serious problem that we can manage.”

Siegel said Christus downtown had seen an estimated 40,000 patients last year.

“With that large an emergency department, treating that many adult patients, it’s certainly going to affect health care downtown.”

He said as it is now, downtown Baptist also saw nearly that many patients.

JoAnn King, spokesperson for Methodist Healthcare, said its downtown hospital Metropolitan Methodist had a similar ER caseload.

But since the Christus announcement in April, King said Metropolitan saw 5,000 patients last month alone.

She said if that keeps up, its emergency room, considered the largest downtown ER in square footage, could see 46,600 patients by the end of the year.

King said they are hiring more personnel, many of them who were laid off during the transition at Christus, and expanding its critical care capacity at Metropolitan Methodist.

When Christus-Santa Rosa made its Children’s Hospital announcement in April, its administrators pointed out there are 1,100 adult patient beds in the downtown area, 47 per cent unoccupied.

Jerry Rodriguez, Christus Santa Rosa vice president, said their adult patients also can choose from other Christus locations.

However, Rodriguez said when it comes to emergency room capacities, “We are working with them on that transition.”

Siegel said he want to see the city and county also get involved.

“We all need to look at what’s going to happen downtown and how we can work to solve the problem, so we’re all in this together,” Siegel said.

Rodriguez said, “We are always open to have conversations with our health care partners in the community, absolutely.”

Siegel said they should work to avoid putting patient safety and quality of care at risk.

To ease overcrowding, Siegel said a possible option would be to develop a site for non-emergency cases. 


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