QUINCY, Wash.—Thousands of people are heading over Snoqualmie Pass for the three day Sasquatch! Music Festival. But the nearest emergency room is also bracing for an influx of concert-goers, who overindulge with too much partying.
“A lot of drinking, a lot of partying, a lot of people” is how attendee Erika Jobb described the event, as she unpacked her car at the Gorge campground.
The Quincy Valley Medical Center is preparing extra beds for six times the patient load they would see on a normal weekend.
“Once they come into our ER department, there is no quick discharge,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Fernando Dietsch. “I have to watch them a day. It could be two days depending how severe it is, to make sure they can walk out of here their normal self.”
Another problem is about a third of them walk out without a way to pay their hospital bill, leaving taxpayers to pick up what was a $400,000 tab last year.
One lawmaker, Representative Matt Manweller, has proposed a one dollar assessment fee to be added to each ticket. The money would go to the local hospital and fire district.
“The intent is to make sure that the concertgoers bear the cost of their healthcare and not the city of Quincy and its residents,” said Manweller.
The Gorge says it’s working with the hospital and local lawmakers, but the hospital says it’s been reaching out to the concert organizers since last July and they’re still waiting to hear back.