A new study has confirmed what most of us already know: we have a crisis in emergency rooms where sick individuals customarily have to wait for hours before being seen. We have seen the horrible consequences of these delays in past postings (here and here). Now, researchers from Press Ganey Associates, a group that works with health care organizations to improve clinical outcomes, finds that in 2009, patients admitted to hospitals waited on average six hours in emergency rooms. Nearly 400,000 patients waited 24 hours or more.
The Government Accountability Office has found that emergency room delays continue to increase. Indeed, many in the field appear to hope that citizens will simply come to accept such delays as the norm. Yet, many of us remember when you could go into an emergency room and receive care quickly.
I fail to understand why citizens are not in open revolt over the failure of Congress to deal directly with this problem. I also do not understand why hospitals are not required to see patients during a set period of time on average to retain their certification.