Residents Experience Increasingly Long Wait Times at Valley Hospitals

Kamari Esquerra

If you’ve noticed longer hospital wait times- you’re not alone.

Palm Springs resident Mark O’Connor recalled his visit to Eisenhower Health on Tuesday.

“I waited a total of 4 hours before I said this isn’t getting any better,” said O’Connor. “It was very busy.”

More hospitals patients means longer wait times. Not just for hospitals- for urgent care clinics as well.

“There’s been an increase significantly,” said Shaz Khan, Palm Desert Urgent Care Manager. “Hospitals are all overwhelmed. They’re overwhelmed with patients and all the patients have to be directed toward urgent care.”

Many people have assumed these wait times are a result of increase COVID-19 hospitalizations, but health officials said that’s not necessarily the case.

Eisenhower reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Riverside County decreased slightly in the last week.

So, what’s the reason for the longer waits? Health officials said it’s a combination of car accidents, heart attacks, strokes and other usual emergencies compounded by the COVID crisis. They stress patients with serious, life-threatening conditions will be seen first.

This doesn’t mean you have to wait for hours, though. Health officials recommend those with less serious health concerns visit an urgent care clinic.  

“We can help you with a simple cough (and) other underlying medical conditions which are not really serious concerns,” said Khan.

And these visits don’t have to be in-person. Palm Desert Urgent Care offers virtual consultations, allowing for a quicker, and safer, check up.

“They stay at their place, schedule appointments, we can help them over the phone,” said Khan. “We are here to help them.”

Despite the inconvenient wait times, people say the hard work of healthcare workers does not go unnoticed.

“They’re amazingly patient- dedicated,” said O’Connor. “Eisenhower’s a great hospital. All the healthcare staff are really doing what they can.”

If you do need to visit the hospital anytime soon, be advised- if it’s not life-threatening, expect to wait.

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