Santa Clara patients wait 6+ months to be seen by pediatric GIs, internal memo alleges

Three pediatric gastroenterologists at Santa Clara Medical Center in San Jose, Calif., including Christopher Fink, MD, and Rachel Ruiz, MD, wrote an internal letter to hospital leaders urging them to address extended wait times at the hospital, according to a Dec. 12 report from NBC Bay Area

According to the letter, which was obtained by NBC's investigative unit, some patients are forced to wait six to seven months just to see a physician. At the time of the letter's release, the department had 135 referrals waiting for an appointment. 

While Dr. Fink and Dr. Ruiz told NBC that there is a separate wait for children who need urgent care, a pediatrician needs to advocate for the child to be seen as an urgent case. 

Dr. Ruiz noted that a lot of families in the area do not speak English, which makes it harder for them to advocate for their needs. 

The two physicians say that they have been asking the department to hire another pediatric physician for over a year. 

"We are working with the pediatric GI division to ensure that all clinic appointment slots are appropriately filled and optimized each day, to assess any additional provider staffing needs and to further improve the system and patient access," the center said in a statement sent to NBC. 

Becker's has reached out to the medical center for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available. 

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