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NJ hospitals duel over wait times

The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2011
Hospital emergency rooms can be unpleasant destinations. When the wait times seem to stretch forever, it just makes things worse. Now, one northern New Jersey hospital is trying to lure patients from competing hospitals by bragging about its low average wait times in the emergency room. Bayonne Medical Center on Tuesday unveiled two billboards in Jersey City that are updated with the emergency-room wait times several times a day. "When people face a medical emergency they want to know they're going to get high-quality care and they're going to be seen in a timely manner," Bayonne CEO Dan Kane said on Tuesday, when the wait time stood at 32 minutes. "They're going to wait far less than they would in any other area emergency department." Wrong, said officials at nearby hospitals. They said their service was just as fast, and scoffed at the notion that patients would choose a hospital based on numbers flashed on billboards.

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