CRMC Flu season equals extended wait times

FRESNO, Calif.

The wait time varies for each patient depending on their condition. But some people say they were waiting between 2 to 4 hours to see a doctor today. Patients going in for emergency care at Community Regional Medical Center could be in for a long wait.

Travis Sylvia brought his 4-year-old daughter Jazmin to the ER Friday afternoon with flu-like symptoms.

Sylvia said, "She has a little bit of a cough and a headache is her main problem right now that I'm having addressed right now."

Medical director of the ER Doctor Gene Kallsen says the flu season leads to hospital overcrowding, and increased wait time.

Kallsen said, "While nationally it's been a really bad year. Here in California, it hit pretty late, and we've only really been seeing it the last couple of weeks."

To ease overcrowding the hospital installed tents right outside as a waiting room for visitors. Just last month staff implemented a fast-track system to move patients in and out much quicker

Patients have been waiting 6 hours sometimes unfortunately, but usually they've been seen during that first hour.

Since then the percentage of patients leaving without having been seen by a doctor has dropped from roughly 15 percent to four percent. And that number is expected to drop with the flu season wrapping up.

Fresno County Health Dept. Joe Prado said, "We have been holding steady at 2 percent flu incidents rate within Fresno County. We're probably going to dip down about 1 and a half percent now."

Still the waiting time can be a problem for those needing medical attention ASAP.

Officials say they haven't had to use the tents, just yet.

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