How should hospitals deal with long waits?

Hospital officials at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital say they need more beds to handle the excessive number of patients who need care. They have their fingers crossed that a bond measure on the Nov. 4 ballot will provide the funds needed to expand. But that wishful thinking doesn't help Amber Joy Milbrodt. She waited 19 hours in the hospital's emergency department for treatment of a broken leg and never got to see a doctor. To add insult to injury, she got a bill for $162 two weeks later.

Parkland officials say the bill was appropriate because a nurse spent a few minutes checking her vital signs in order to establish Milbrodt's place in line. Fort Worth's large public hospital, John Peter Smith, also charges for a triage assessment, but some other hospitals in Dallas will not charge a person if they never see a doctor.

For more:
- read the Houston Chronicle article

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