Seattle hospital to stop taking nonurgent patients over capacity issues

Amid capacity strain, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily stop accepting patients who are not in need of urgent care, hospital leaders said, according to NBC affiliate KING 5.

The hospital, part of UW Medicine, announced the decision Aug. 11, while reporting more than 560 inpatients compared to the hospital's licensed capacity of 413.

As of Aug. 11, leaders also reported more than 100 inpatients waiting to be moved to a long-term care facility.

"Given the unique position Harborview has in the community as the level 1 trauma center, as the disaster center, and here for all critical illness, we had to make a very difficult decision today — one that has been weighing on our minds as UW Medicine leadership," Harborview Medical Center CEO Sommer Kleweno Walley said Aug. 11, according to Fox 13. "In order to ensure that we maintain our critical capacity for any type of trauma that is needed in our region and for any type of critical illness, we have moved to going on what we call 'basic life support divert.' Patients not in need of more urgent care will be needed to be taken care of and brought by ambulances to other hospitals surrounding Harborview in the area. Harborview for this time period will no longer be able to take care of the less acute patients in order to maintain our capacity." 

Harborview will stop admitting patients with nonurgent needs at least through Aug. 14, according to Fox 13

Harborview is among other hospitals in Washington state that have faced capacity issues. In July, state healthcare leaders said many hospitals in the state were "dramatically over capacity" and grappling with more strains from delayed discharges and staff shortages than previously during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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