Fewer hospital beds in Las Vegas Valley means more patients at facilities, possibly longer wait times

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:56 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A drop in hospital beds in the Las Vegas Valley may mean more patients at busy hospitals, and possibly some longer wait times for patients.

The loss of 282 in-patient beds by March at Desert Springs Hospital comes as the Valley keeps experiencing a population boom, and many local hospitals already describe the status quo as “busy” and often nearly full. Desert Springs will continue to provide only emergency care.

“This closure may be reflected as a slight increase in overall occupancy rates in the coming weeks as these beds go offline and other facilities absorb the patient demand,” according to the Week 2 report from the Nevada Hospital Association.

According to Desert Springs Hospital, in 2022, the facility treated 9,800 inpatients and 675 geropsychiatric patients. “Patients who require inpatient care can be transferred to our other five Valley Health System hospitals, and the geropsych patients can be transferred to a behavioral health program,” said spokesperson Gretchen Papez in an email to FOX5.

The Las Vegas Valley’s hospital bed capacity hovers around 4,100 beds, according to statistics from the American Hospital Directory and the Harvard Global Institute.

According to UMC’s CEO, Mason Van Houweling, the nearest facilities of UMC and Sunrise Hospital expect the newest patients due to Desert Springs’ closures.

“Taking out close to 300 beds out of the medical community in an already strained system-- we’re year-round totally full. So both UMC and Sunrise are going to have to meet some new challenges,” Van Houweling said. “We know that wait times, the impact to the community is going to have a major ripple effect for us. Taking out 300 beds is definitely going to have a strain on the community, but UMC is up for the challenge,” he said.

Though UMC officials said all patients are welcome, to avoid potentially longer wait times, non-urgent patients are advised to seek UMC Quick Care locations, or even utilize their UMC Online Care telemedicine option.

In early 2022, Sunrise Hospital recently opened a new wing to accommodate 70 more patient beds. The hospital released the following statement:

In the winter of 2022 to 2023, hospitals saw a spike in patients from the “tripledemic” of COVID-19, flu and RSV. From 2020 to 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic meant various hospitals reached and exceeded capacity to handle waves of patients in need of critical care.