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Hospital ED Wait Times Reveal Huge Variations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 7, 2012

The CMS rule added that "Overcrowding and heavy emergency resource demand have led to a number of problems including ambulance refusals, prolonged patient waiting times, increased suffering for those who wait, rushed and unpleasant treatment environments, and potentially poor patient outcomes. Finally, when EDs are overwhelmed, their ability to respond to community emergencies and disasters may be compromised."

 

CMS said in the rule that it wanted hospitals to perform this exercise voluntarily in order to "identify any needed refinements" prior to required submission with discharged patients as of Jan. 1, 2012.

These two measures are only the first of many more to come, CMS spokesman Don McLeod told HealthLeaders Media in an e-mail response.

The third metric, ED-3, "is a measure of time of arrival to time of departure for discharged patients"—that is, patients who are not admitted as inpatients, hesays. Hospitals will also be required to report "median time from arrival to troponin (a test to determine heart muscle function) results for AMI/chest pain patients; median time from arrival to pain medication for patients with a long bone fracture; and timing from arrival to CT scan results for patients presenting to the ED with symptoms of a stroke." These metrics are part of the outpatient quality reporting program for patient encounters as of Jan. 1, 2012.


See also:
Speed of ED Care Goes Under Quality Microscope

 


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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3 comments on "Hospital ED Wait Times Reveal Huge Variations"


Bevmcpeak (5/16/2012 at 10:24 PM)
The 2012 criteria from McKesson requires a 3hour stay for chf , reeval, then decide for admit/observation .go figure

RAJAT BHATT (5/11/2012 at 3:53 PM)
The flip side is unnecessary and inappropriate admissions - in a bid to decrease ED WAIT TIMES the physicians start admitting everyone without waiting for an appropriate workup to see if the patient needs to be admitted

Jay Shiver (5/7/2012 at 11:03 AM)
Ms. Clark, Thank you. This has been my clarion call for 30 years. Perhaps now the idea will gain some traction. It's good to hear that there is recognition that much (most) of the turnaround / process issue rests outside the ED proper and is in the hands of the rest of the hospital. Thank you. Regards, jay