Patients of Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., are experiencing wait times of up to a year for routine colonoscopies because of backlogs, Inforum reported July 26.
The lengthy wait times stem from various factors, including increased demand for colonoscopies — since recent guidelines lowered the recommended age for colorectal screening from 50 to 45 — and providers playing catch-up with colonoscopies that were canceled or delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanford plans to hire gastroenterologists to address the backlog and is encouraging primary care physicians to refer patients to its outpatient clinic and ASC in Detroit Lakes, Minn., which recently added providers, Doug Griffin, MD, vice president and medical officer for Sanford Health in Fargo, told the publication. Patients willing to travel to Detroit Lakes can get a colonoscopy in about two months, he said.
"I don't know that we've ever been this long out," Dr. Griffin said, adding that "it will take probably a few months to reduce" the wait time for colonoscopies.