Survey Finds Long Wait Times at San Diego County Hospitals
San Diego County patients waited an average of almost 5.5 hours before being admitted to an inpatient bed from a hospital's emergency department last year, according to a survey released Tuesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Roneet Lev, an emergency physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, released her findings at the "Emergency Room Overcrowding Summit 2007" in San Diego.
The statistics represent the first disclosure of countywide wait times for ED patients, according to Lev, who noted that the state publicizes only reports on each hospital's length of inpatient stays.
The survey of 19 county hospitals also found:
- The wait time before being admitted to a hospital bed ranged from 3.5 hours to 17.5 hours;
- Patients who were treated and discharged without being admitted waited an average of 3.5 hours, with times ranging from 1.5 hours to four hours; and
- 1% to 7.5% of patients left the ED while waiting, depending on the hospital.
Each facility agreed to submit the data as long as wait times for their hospital were not released individually.
Lev said the hospitals could use the findings to compare one another, adding that all EDs in the county have capacity issues. The overcrowding is exacerbated by a growing number of uninsured patients who use EDs for primary care, according to the Union-Tribune (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/3). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.