Emergency Room Waits Longer

Consumers are experiencing longer and longer wait times in hospital emergency rooms, according to a new report.  Yesterday’s release of Press Ganey’s Pulse Report 2010 confirmed what the American College of Emergency Physicians had previously reported.

The average wait in an emergency room is now 4 hours and 7 minutes, according to the Ganey report. A large factor is the high unemployment rate the US is experiencing with in the current economic recession.

American College of Emergency Physicians president Dr. Angela Gardner said:

“Hospitals need to stop boarding admitted patients in the emergency department and get them to the appropriate inpatient floor quickly.  That is what’s best for the admitted patients, but it’s also what’s best for the patients suffering in the waiting room.  The full capacity protocol has been proven effective in numerous emergency departments, but many hospitals continue to resist implementing it.  That’s bad for patients.  

“Policymakers and the public should also have no illusions that the recently passed health care legislation is going to decrease ER use.  Massachusetts, which enacted health care reform in 2006, has seen an increase in emergency department visits, with no decrease in patient acuity.  It proves that health care coverage is no guarantee of health care access.  

Gardner also stated that some patients in ambulances are experiencing longer rides because ambulances are diverted away from nearby ER’s because they are so busy.  ” A longer ride to the hospital is not good medicine” she said.