Oro Valley Hospital in Pima County is temporarily not accepting cardiac arrest patients due to staffing issues. Anyone who suffers from a heart attack or chest pain must be taken to other hospitals in the area.
In November of 2021, the Arizona Department of Health Services removed Oro Valley Hospital as a Cardiac Receiving Center and SAEMS removed the hospital from the SAEMS Chest Pain Standing Order and SAEMS Cardiac Receiving Center Triage Protocol.
The change will cause some emergency patients in the Oro Valley area to experience longer commute times to the appropriate facilities. Paramedics will have a greater challenge on their hands to transport cardiac patients to other hospitals in time.
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KOLD News 13 reported:
Northwest Healthcare, which runs the hospital, released the following statement.
“Like many hospitals across the country, staffing at Oro Valley Hospital remains incredibly tight as our caregivers work together to navigate this most recent COVID surge. Because we want to make sure patients get the right level of care, we openly communicate with our EMS partners when our capabilities change. At this time, we are unable to provide 24/7 call coverage in the Cath Lab at Oro Valley Hospital, so we have asked our EMS partners to temporarily transport cardiac patients to facilities with a higher level of care, including Northwest Medical Center. Our emergency department remains open and prepared to see all patients who come to us and we encourage the public not to delay when seeking care for a medical emergency.”
In a memo obtained by KOLD News 13, the EMS Medical Director for Northwest Healthcare informed providers the Arizona Department of Health Services removed the hospital as a ‘Cardiac Receiving Center.’
For some, this will mean a longer ambulance ride during a desperate situation.
“That’s changed some of our transport decision-making,” said Capt. Adam Jarrold with the Golder Ranch Fire District.
Golder Ranch paramedics respond to calls from Ina Road up the Oracle corridor to Biosphere 2. It’s a large area with an older population. Capt. Jarrold says cardiac calls are common.
It’s a bit concerning for Jarrold, who said the closest Cardiac Receiving Centers are now Banner UMC; which is about 16 miles south of Oro Valley Hospital, and Northwest Medical Center, which is about 11 miles southwest.
“Our paramedics are very well trained,” he said. “They are very well equipped to care for these patients.”
Jarrold said paramedics remain on the scene when CPR is needed because it allows them to provide better chest compressions. This, along with new technology, has allowed GRFD to double its survivability rate.
Jarrold said every hospital offers specific services.
“A woman in labor wouldn’t go to Oro Valley Hospital because they don’t have a Labor and Delivery Center,” he said. “Someone with significant trauma would never go to Oro Valley Hospital because Banner University is the most appropriate hospital for that.”
According to AZDHS, a hospital needs to meet several requirements to have a Cardiac Receiving Center, including the ability to provide intervention 24/7.