The 10 States With the Worst Emergency Department Response Time

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In a health emergency, timing is crucial. Minutes ticking by can literally mean life or death. Recently, HBO’s John Oliver critiqued the lackadaisical 911 response in the U.S., stating, “Ubers can find you better than ambulances can. Depending on where you live, [911 dispatchers] may also be underfunded, understaffed and full of outdated technology — which is fine, if you’re describing a Radio Shack.”

But what happens at the next step, when we arrive at the hospital in an ambulance or on our own? Many people still face a painfully long wait before they are seen by a physician or properly diagnosed. HealthGrove, a health data site that’s part of Graphiq, wanted to find out which states have the slowest emergency department response. Using data collected from a Medicare survey of more than 4,000 hospitals, HealthGrove found the 10 states with the slowest emergency response times based their Timeliness Score. The Timeliness Score is a comprehensive score out of 100, based on the following metrics:

    • Patient’s total arrival to departure time at the hospital
    • Average time patient spends in the emergency department before they are seen by a healthcare professional
    • Average time patient spends in the emergency department, after the doctor decides to admit them as an inpatient, before leaving the emergency department for their inpatient room
    • Average time patient spends in the emergency department, before they are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient
    • Average time patients who come to the emergency department with broken bones wait before receiving pain medication
    • Percentage of patients who leave the ER without being seen
    • Percentage of patients with stroke symptoms who receive brain scan results within 45 minutes of arrival

The hospital with the patient’s longest arrival to departure time is also highlighted in each state. Many hospitals with a slow emergency response are teaching hospitals associated with state universities, but there are a few private hospitals where patients find themselves spending two to three hours in waiting room purgatory.

While highly populated states like New York or California exhibit long emergency wait times on average, hospitals in small states with dense populations have the slowest response times of all. In one state, patients with broken bones have to wait an average of an hour and ten minutes before receiving pain medication. In an emergency, we cannot be too picky with our hospitals, but in many cases a long wait can aggravate the problem.

#10. Connecticut

 

 

Timeliness Score: 48.06

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: Waterbury Hospital

 

#9. New Jersey

 

 

Timeliness Score: 42.92

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: University Hospital

 

#8. Nevada

 

 

Timeliness Score: 42.2

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: Spring Valley Hospital

 

#7. Massachusetts

 

 

Timeliness Score: 42.19

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: Baystate Medical Center

 

#6. New Mexico

 

 

Timeliness Score: 41.99

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: UNM Hospital

 

#5. Georgia

 

 

Timeliness Score: 40.33

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: Grady Memorial Hospital

 

#4. California

 

 

Timeliness Score: 37.44

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: LAC+USC Medical Center

 

#3. New York

 

 

Timeliness Score: 35.2

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn, NY Center

 

#2. Maryland

 

 

Timeliness Score: 5.89

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: The Johns Hopkins Hospital

 

#1. Delaware

 

 

Timeliness Score: 0

Hospital With Slowest Response Time: Bayhealth, Kent General Hospital

 

Emergency Department Response by State

 

Research Your Hospital’s Response Time and Reviews on HealthGrove