Federal agency reveals Treasure Valley hospital ER wait times

adutton@idahostatesman.comMarch 26, 2013 

New information released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows how long it takes for hospital emergency-room patients in the Treasure Valley to get the care they need. One set of measures shows how long a hospital ER patient spent in the ER before being admitted for inpatient treatment:

Another set shows how long it took for a patient with a broken bone to be given pain medication:

  • Idaho average: 51 minutes
  • U.S. average: 62 minutes
  • St. Luke's Boise/Meridian: 56 minutes
  • Saint Alphonsus in Boise: 40 minutes
  • Saint Alphonsus in Nampa: 56 minutes
  • West Valley Medical Center: 46 minutes

The data are collected by CMS and are disclosed on the Hospital Compare website. "Waiting times at different hospitals can vary widely, depending on the number of patients seen, ED staffing, efficiency, admitting procedures, or the availability of inpatient beds," said CMS.

Some hospital executives in the U.S. have argued with the disclosures, saying the waiting times aren't necessarily accurate.

About one percent of patients at Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke's hospitals in Boise and Meridian left the ER before being seen; no national or statewide comparison was available.

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