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Regional News

WA hospital officials ask the state for help to find places for discharged patients

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Washington hospital officials say the state should work faster to help clear patients who are waiting for beds in rehab or care facilities.

Hospital officials say people who need places to convalesce are taking up needed beds.

The state of Washington is sending 100 National Guard members to four hospitals to help them with Covid-related duties. Governor Jay Inslee made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Washington hospital officials say they’re grateful for any help they receive from the state. But they’re asking for two things in particular.

Taya Briley from the Washington State Hospital Association estimates 10-to-15-percent of patients in the state’s hospitals are ready to be discharged, but have nowhere to go. The state is responsible for many of them and yet Briley says it is slow in deciding when and where to move them.

“The process can work for those assessments in weeks and months and hospitals operate in hours and days. We need that assessment process to happen much faster," she said.

Briley says the hospitals also want the state to allow more people to give permission to move patients to care facilities.

“That would allow for decision makers who are actually there at the bedside with the patient, who are capable of consenting to major treatments like surgery or even withdrawing life-sustaining treatment, to be able to consent to long-term care treatment for these patients," she said.

Briley says the legislature is also considering a variety of measures to help hospitals during a public health surge.