How long should someone spend in the ER? The federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid hasn't answered that question, but it is now reporting how long waits are in emergency rooms on its Hospital Compare website.
Boise area beats the U.S. average: Patients at St. Luke's, Saint Alphonsus and West Valley medical centers all spent less time in the ER than the national average before being admitted to the hospital.
The broken-bone test: The agency also posted how long it took hospital patients in the ER with a broken bone to receive pain medication. All four ERs in Ada and Canyon counties provided a painkiller at least six minutes sooner than the 62-minute national average. The agency reported that about 1 percent of patients at Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke's left the ER without being seen by a health care provider, but listed no national or state average for comparison.
Waiting times are in dispute: Some hospital executives in places such as Georgia and Oklahoma - where one hospital was listed with a 26-hour wait time - say the agency got its numbers wrong, according to HealthLeaders Media.
See for yourself: The Hospital Compare website is a fast-growing source of information about every hospital. Visit medicare.gov/hospitalcompare to see how your hospital rates.