Waits Grow in Emergency Rooms
Posted by Theo Francis
If you felt like the wait to see a doctor was interminable the last time you were in the emergency room, you were right.
ER times dragged out 36% longer between 1997 and 2004, according to a Health Affairs study by a gaggle of Harvard docs out today. Researchers say there’s every reason to think the trend has worsened, thanks to the closing of some ERs and increased volume at the rest, the WSJ reports.
The headline numbers in the report are bad enough: The median wait for an adult visiting the ER to see a doctor was 30 minutes in 2004, up from 22 minutes in 1997. For heart attacks, the median wait was 20 minutes — up 150% from eight minutes in 1997.
But median figures only tell part of the story. Three-quarters of heart-attack patients were seen by a doctor within 20 minutes in 1997. That figure rose to 50 minutes in 2004—meaning a quarter of such patients didn’t see a doctor for nearly an hour. That’s particularly bad news because of the mounting evidence that shows early intervention can make all the difference in heart attack survival.
“Not only are they waiting longer and suffering while they wait, but potentially there could be long-term consequences to those waits as well,” says Andrew Wilper, lead author on the study and, like his coauthors, a doc at Cambridge Health Alliance.
Some fared better than others in the ER, including men, whites, and those living outside cities or the Northeast.
But white suburbanites shouldn’t take much comfort in the fact that they have shorter wait times than others, says Robert A. Lowe, an ER doc and head of the Center for Policy & Research in Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. (Lewis saw the study in advance but didn’t help do it.) For one thing, many trauma centers are in crowded urban hospitals.
“That’s where you’re going to go if your Volvo runs into his BMW,” Lowe said. “We’re all at risk when wait times increase.”
screen.width-333)this.width=screen.width-333" width=387 height=258 title="Click to view full PJ-AL616_ERWAIT_20080114182813.gif (387 X 258)" border=0 align=absmiddle> 医院急诊医生缺位,急求911?
January 10, 2008, 10:56 am
When Hospitals Call 911 In a Medical Emergency
Posted by Jacob Goldstein
A third of physician-owned specialty hospitals rely on calling 911 in medical emergencies, according to a federal report due out today, the Washington Post reports. The finding is likely to bring yet more heat down on the facilities, which have long been unpopular with some powerful people in Washington.
The report, from the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, also found 7% of the facilities failed to meet Medicare requirements that a registered nurse be on duty at all times and that at least one physician be on call if none are in the hospital.
“It’s unbelievable that a facility that calls itself a hospital would, at times, not even have a doctor on call or a nurse on duty,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus told the WaPo. “It is unacceptable that these facilities are not designed or equipped to handle emergencies.” Baucus (a Democrat) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (a Republican) requested the investigation.
The 911 issue has been in the news before. And Congressman Pete Stark (D-Calif.) pushed last year to cut off Medicare funding to physician-owned hospitals, largely on the grounds that an ownership stake gives physicians a conflict of interest in deciding when patients should have hospital procedures done.
Stark didn’t succeed, but the Senate Finance Committee is going to push for stronger laws governing the facilities later this year, when Congress takes up Medicare legislation, a committee spokeswoman told the WaPo. [标签:content1][标签:content2]
作者:admin@医学,生命科学 2011-08-22 17:22