DENVER (CBS4) - As hospitals in neighboring states reach capacity, CBS4 has learned that COVID-19 patients from Texas to New Mexico and several other states are being sent to Colorado hospitals for treatment.
"They (hospitals) may reach ICU capacity. They may have issues with the number of ventilators available, maybe they have staffing capacity issues," said Cara Welch with the Colorado Hospital Association.
In recent weeks, UCHealth reports taking in eight COVID-19 patients from Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.
Dan Weaver, UCHealth's Vice president of communications said, "Our priority is always on caring for our patients and for people throughout the State of Colorado. If our overall capacity was at a level where we were worried we might not be able to care for patients from Colorado, then we wouldn't accept out-of-state transfer requests. Those requests are only evaluated when our hospitals have the capacity and capability to accept transfers." Weaver continued, "Importantly, all of our hospitals have the ability to care for additional patients at this time, so we encourage people to not delay their medical care. This past spring, we saw people avoiding medical care for urgent and even emergency medical conditions, which can be dangerous and can lead to more serious medical problems."
HealthONE said it has taken three or four COVID-19 patients from Texas, South Dakota and Montana in the past several days. Stephanie Sullivan with HealthONE said the transfers were "due to capacity issues in those other states."
Kevin Massey of Centura Health, said Centura Health hospitals in Colorado have recently taken in fewer than five COVID-19 patients from Texas and New Mexico.
"Federal regulations require that we accept patients for emergency transfer if we have adequate capacity," said Massey.
While the various hospital systems were uncertain if they would be taking on more out of state patients, Sullivan told CBS4 it was "Hard to say, but likely yes."
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