Fewer Clark County ambulances are being diverted to Portland hospitals, saving crucial time for patients and emergency medical providers, according to local officials.
Historically, Clark County’s two hospitals have diverted ambulances when their emergency departments are full, meaning local patients sometimes find themselves in Oregon beds. But since early 2018, diverted patients have largely only been taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center or Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.
In the rare case that both hospitals are in divert status, the hospitals accept ambulance patients in an alternating fashion.
“The end result is that all (ambulance) patients are still delivered to a Clark County care facility — none are diverted across the river into Oregon,” according to a statement from PeaceHealth.
Nationally in the last 15 years, factors like medical costs and changing uses of emergency rooms have increased the need for hospitals to divert patients, said Dr. Lynn Wittwer, Clark County medical program director.