(KRON) – Emergency responders in Alameda County say ambulances are stuck at hospitals trying to drop off patients. In some cases, they are even waiting an hour.
Sean Burrows, the president of the firefighters union, the long wait times are creating downstream effects. He says this is not a new problem, but a bill moving through the state capitol right now would make the statewide standard 20 minutes.
“We are seeing elongated wait times when an ambulance arrives to the back door of a hospital before a patient’s care is transferred to that hospital staff – we’re seeing times of 45, 60, 90 minutes,” he said.
Burrows says those delays are keeping ambulances from responding to other emergencies. It is a problem Alameda County emergency crews are facing every day.
Burrows is advocating for the passage of assembly Bill 40 — which would make 20 minutes the statewide standard for patient care. He says resources need to be made available to make this possible.
“We’re not in an adversarial relationship with the doctors and the nurses and the paramedics and the hospital staff,” he said. “That’s not the goal here. The goal is to try and work together.”
The assemblymember proposing the legislation is Freddie Rodriguez, a career first responder from Southern California. He says the COVID-19 pandemic worsened ambulance patient offload delays, and the fallout continues.
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Assembly Bill 40 also proposes that when the 20-minute standard goes into effect, non-compliant hospitals will be subject to a review to solve the issue. The bill passed through a committee on Monday.