Guthrie Cortland goes into 24-hour diversion; further diversion remains to be seen

(Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith/The Cortland Voice).

The Guthrie Cortland Medical Center went into a 24-hour diversion from 12:30 p.m. Monday, to around noon on Tuesday.

According to a news release from Guthrie on Monday, the hospital went into a diversion “after an influx of patients to the Emergency Department.” 

The increase in patient care in the Emergency Department is led by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those patients are either sick or looking to receive a test, the release states.

Diversion is a process regulated by the New York State Department of Health.

“It is a request that, if safe to do so, ambulance services temporarily transport patients to another facility with shorter wait times,” said Dr. Paula Brooks, chief medical officer at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. “This allows the regional emergency departments to balance demand to ensure patients receive timely and quality care.”

The release noted that as a result of diversion, “any new patients transported by ambulance have been temporarily redirected to another area facility for care. This allows staff to provide the highest quality care to patients already inside our facility, ensuring we have enough staffed beds for the number of patients who need to be admitted.”

Further request for a diversion at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center remains to be seen. Based on a statement from the hospital on Tuesday, another diversion “depends on who and how many people walk through the door at any given time and the severity of their illnesses.”

Brooks said the capacity of beds within the hospital changes on a daily basis, but the hospital “shifts resources to accommodate demand.”

“For example, the bed capacity in our ICU may decrease as the severity of illness of the patients increases,” she said.

The release noted that despite the rise in patients at nearby hospitals, patients “experiencing a medical emergency should not hesitate to seek medical care.”

“The emergency department is never closed and never refuses a patient,” Brooks said. “We constantly monitor demand and shift resources throughout the system to ensure quality care. We are working to increase capacity in our primary care clinics to ensure that non-emergent complaints can be managed in primary and walk-in care.”