Long Emergency Room Wait Times Leading to Online Check In
Average Emergency Room Wait Time Longer than 5 Hours in California
(Washington, D.C.) – According to reports, the average wait time in California emergency rooms is now more than 5 hours, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. These lengthy wait times have the potential to cause serious harm to patients in urgent need of care, as hospitals are pressed to deal with an increasing caseload amidst a growing shortage of physicians. The problem is serious enough that California hospitals are increasingly encouraging emergency room patients to "check in" online via a home computer, and then wait there until care is available at the hospital. While intended to help focus care on the neediest patients, this change could lead some in need of immediate care to wait longer than is safe.
This finding is consistent with the results of a national survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians, which recently found that nearly half of its members saw an increase in visits since the start of 2014. Nearly 90 percent believe that emergency room visits will increase over the next three years, and of those, 77 percent say they are not adequately prepared for expected increases. These troubling findings have ramifications for patients nationwide.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
"The new health care law is not solving America's health care concerns. In many ways, it is making them worse. Emergency rooms nationwide are facing a growing surge of patients – people who either have not obtained insurance under the law, or who may have insurance, but can't find a doctor. When emergency rooms begin telling patients to register and wait from home, it undermines their ability to address urgent needs – and may cost lives.
It's far past time to reform the reform. The president must work with Congress on pro-patient reforms that expand choice and put consumers back in charge of their own health care. A system that has no room for low-priced, affordable plans is one that can't serve the needs of patients. It's time to start over."