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'Hallway admissions' abound at overcrowded Montefiore ER, nurses say

Overcrowding at New York City-based Montefiore Medical Center — one of the state's busiest emergency rooms — has forced caregivers to treat patients through "hallway admissions," several nurses and patients at the hospital told the New York Daily News.

Kate Pugh, RN, a Montefiore ER nurse for five years, told the publication that on the busiest days, she typically treats up to 15 patients in the ER at one time.

"These are sick people," Ms. Pugh said. "Basically you're just running around putting out fires instead of giving quality care. This is not an easy fix. We just don't have space."

City Councilman Ritchie Torres sent a letter to the New York City Department of Investigation in August, urging the agency to "probe Montefiore's practice of placing Medicaid recipients in crowded hallways that neglect[s] patient care," the report states. However, the prompt failed to change patient care techniques at the hospital.

Overcrowding has become such an issue at the hospital that some staff have begun referring to it as "hallway admissions," which typically involves stacking equipment along the corridors. Doing so creates additional safety risks for patients and staff as they maneuver around the equipment, the report states.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, Montefiore Medical Center said: "Even though other emergency departments in our community are less busy and have available hospital beds, people come to Montefiore because we provide high-quality, compassionate and comprehensive care. To increase capacity during peak periods we utilize all available space and all patients are assigned a nurse, full care team, and receive comprehensive medical care. We are committed to working with elected officials, Bronx medical providers, and local partners to reduce reliance on emergency departments for non-emergency care and increase access to ambulatory care in the community."

To access the full report, click here.

More articles on patient flow:
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Optimizing the logistics of people moving in healthcare: redefining non-emergency medical transportation
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