Washington hospitals use statewide system to transfer patients amid capacity concerns

As hospitals around Washington grapple with the current surge in COVID-19 cases, healthcare providers are increasingly using a statewide system used to coordinate capacities, according to an Oct. 1 report from The Chronicle

Formed in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in February 2020, the Washington Medical Coordinating Center works with overwhelmed hospitals around the state to place patients in facilities that have available spots.

"If one nursing home could overwhelm a single hospital, we had to come up with a solution to prevent that from happening," Steven Mitchell, MD, medical director of the Medical Coordinating Center, told The Chronicle.

The center has seen its highest workload of the pandemic as variants have spread. Data on 414 transfers from the MCC between July 1 and Sept. 23 shows hundreds of patients being transferred from rural Washington facilities. 

"Nearly all the calls that we have received have been from small, rural and critical access hospitals, from those rural areas," Dr. Mitchell said.

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