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CRMC ER Wait Times Trending Up Alongside COVID, Flu, RSV Numbers

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
CRMC ER Wait Times Trending Up Alongside COVID, Flu, RSV Numbers

Wait times at Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room have trended longer with the extra volume due to flu, COVID, and RSV.

White County EMS discussed the growing wait times for arriving ambulances at a County Steering Committee meeting this week. Cookeville Regional Emergency Department Director Samantha McLerran said wait times are constantly fluctuating, making them difficult to anticipate.

“There is a trend that more people are utilizing emergency medical services, and that doesn’t bring more volume, and hence, more of a tendency to have a longer wait time,” McLerran said. “But again, it varies.”

McLerran said the department is constantly watching the ratio of staff versus patient volume to assess when and where there is a significant need. She said the department has plans to find ways to get patients seen quicker and keep wait times minimal.

“We are constantly looking at ways to increase wait times,” McLerran said. “We are utilizing access to a provider in the triage area which allows patients to be more rapidly assessed. That is a current goal and plan.”

McLerran said that as Cookeville and Putnam County grow, the volume of citizens needing service from the emergency room naturally increases. She also said that there has been an uptick in patients from outlying counties as those populations continue to grow. These factors press the need for careful attention to the flow in and out of the department, she said.

“Staffing from both a provider aspect and a nursing aspect is something that was constantly looked at and will remain a very important part of our emergency department plan for providing patient care,” McLerran said.

McLerran said wait times or not, the treatment of patients when they make it inside remains the same. She said sicker and more emergent patients will be triaged and taken back first, but the goal is to provide safe, timely care for each patient.

“Viral illnesses have been a part of emergency medicine for as long as there has been a winter season, so again, it’s just another component of care here at our facility and at facilities across the country,” McLerran.


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