Lansing = wait times for emergency care in the area can be hours
HASLETT, Mich. — All was quiet at Haslett Emergency Care at 8 a.m. It was the calm before the storm of people flooding the doors to get their names on the waiting list.
“We’re busy from the time we clock in until the time we walk out,” said medical assistant Autumn Johnson.
This wave of COVID-19 is causing long waits at hospitals and testing sites across the state, and urgent care is no exception.
“I believe so much that this is considered mental, mental and physical exhaustion for all of us,” Johnson said.
Johnson has weathered the slow times of the pandemic.
“In March 2020 and the stay-at-home order was put in place, our wait times were next to nothing,” she said.
And the hard times.
“I remember there were a few times when I left work crying all the way home like it couldn’t go on forever,” Johnson said.
But nothing compares to what she sees now.
“Are we going to walk into twelve hours of nice patients or are we going to walk into twelve hours of patients who are mad at us because the wait times are so long,” Johnson said.
Executive Director of Operations Hillary Myers said they are seeing double the number of patients daily, which means longer wait times.
“Unfortunately, this surge we’ve seen has been the heaviest from a volume perspective,” Myers said. “More patients sometimes means more waiting.”
the Lansing Emergency Care Website has a map of each location estimating wait times. So far, every day this week, most locations had an estimated wait time of over an hour, sometimes several hours, and people are frustrated that they have to wait.
“We have a lot of people coming in and ‘it’s just a swab, it’s just a swab, it only takes a second’, like it only takes a second, but there are 40 or 50 of you who are currently waiting,” Johnson said.
Jill Gomall is a medical assistant.
“It’s tough because none of us like expecting me included,” Gomall said.
She said it was busy due to demand for rapid tests.
“Many sports teams, for example, require rapid testing to be able to participate in new sports or schools test to stay what’s new,” Gomall said.
But also non-COVID medical emergencies that come through the clinic, people reluctant to go to the emergency room.
“We’re still seeing some of the minor emergencies, lacerations, ear infections, injuries and that sort of thing,” Gomall said.
ERs are often placed before rapid tests, making wait times even longer.
“Non-reactive, anaphylaxis, I mean that’s the kind of stuff we see in clinics and that’s what we’re designed to help treat and those need to take priority over an asymptomatic rapid test. . I have to do it,” Myers said.
These wait times are only an estimate and often go faster than expected.
“I like to explain to them, yes it says it’s going to be six o’clock, chances are I can get you in within one or two,” Johnson said.
Johnson said not all experiences have been bad.
“The guy looked at me and said ‘Can I tell you something?’ I said absolutely and he said “I’m so grateful for what you guys are doing and I can’t imagine working for you right now” and I went home and I was like wow. so awesome,” Johnson said.
Myers said they are hiring more people and doing everything possible to improve wait times.
“We hear you and we’re working to make this a better experience for you,” Myers said.
They just ask for patience.
“We ask that you be kind, patient, understanding, and help us as we try to help you,” Johnson said.
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