Polls: Massachusetts patients face long ED waits

While health reforms in Massachusetts do seem to have had some success, one problem that keeps cropping up is the reality that the existing health system is still adjusting to the volume and case mix created by newly-insured patients entering the system, with ED wait times remaining high.

Waits for primary-care visits have already grown much longer, frustrating many who hope to strengthen the preventive care side of the system. Another issue that seems to be coming up is that emergency department waits at Massachusetts hospitals are apparently rising, according to polls conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

According to a recent ACEP Internet poll of 138 state ED doctors, 51 percent said that patient acuity levels have stayed the same, while 20 percent reported higher acuity levels and 27 percent reported lower acuity levels. Meanwhile, 62 percent said that boarding admitted patients in EDs has increased or stayed the same.

A separate ACEP survey of 1,002 healthcare consumers in the state, conducted by Harris in September, found that 47 percent of respondents had been to an ED within the previous year.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this HealthLeaders Media piece

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