Longer wait times anticipated at Kaleida Health as Catholic Health strike looms

Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaleida Health said the system and other area hospitals are preparing for higher emergency room volumes, longer wait times and stress on bed availability ahead of a tentative strike at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital of Buffalo. 

Labor and delivery patients are being directed to locations outside Mercy Hospital, including Kaleida's Oishei Children’s Hospital, which has launched a comprehensive plan to address the anticipated increase of volume, according to a news release from Kaleida.

Kaleida said ambulance diversions from Mercy Hospital have also resulted in more patients at the Gates Vascular Institute, a Center of Excellence for cardiac and stroke care in Buffalo.

"We are hopeful that the impact on operations for area hospitals amid Catholic Health's labor dispute is minimal," said Kaleida CEO Bob Nesselbush. "That said, it is important to point out that we intend to remain open and provide access to services across our organization. We are adding resources, recruiting additional personnel and going through considerable scenario planning to address this. We are doing our very best to be there for the community."

Mercy Hospital is in negotiations with the Communications Workers of America Local 113, which represents nurses, technologists, clerical staff and other service workers at the hospital. Workers there said they plan to strike Oct. 1 unless a deal is reached.

To prepare for the strike, Mercy Hospital has suspended inpatient nonemergency procedures and delayed labor and delivery services. The system began Sept. 29 diverting ambulances from Mercy Hospital and its Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Mr. Nesselbush stated Kaleida will continue to monitor patient volumes, and patients will be seen at its Buffalo General Medical Center; Williamsville, N.Y.-based Millard Suburban; North Tonawanda, N.Y.-based DeGraff Medical Park; and Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo when needed. Kaleida emergency rooms are open.

More information about emergency room waiting times is available here

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