Patients seeking care at New York hospitals spend nearly five hours in emergency rooms — among the worst rates in the country.
New York state hospitals rank 46th in the nation for the length of time in e.r.s, tied with Mississippi.
The 296 minutes that patients in New York spend in emergency care or waiting rooms jumped 18 minutes in 2009 from 2008, according to Press Ganey, an organization that conducts hospital surveys.
New Yorkers have wait times that are about an hour longer than in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut as well as Illinois, 30 minutes longer than in Florida and 22 minutes longer than in California, the study found.
Industry sources said recent hospital closures have contributed to longer wait times. For example, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and North General hospital in Manhattan shut down last year, and about a half-dozen city hospitals have shut down over the last several years.
“The patient volumes in the other hospitals are up. The patients have to go somewhere,” said Christy Dempsey, a Press Ganey senior vice president.
But she also said that hospitals are too inefficient in handling the flow of patients.
The state Health Department downplayed the report.
“Our concern is that patients receive accurate diagnoses and quality care. Our system is not designed to be like the 12-items-or-less line at the supermarket,” a spokeswoman said.
The Hospital Association of Greater New York declined comment.
“This is another symptom of not having enough primary care and preventive care,” said Daniel Lowenstein, a spokesman for the Primary Care Development Corps.
“People go to the e.r. for things they should go to the doctor for or because they let it go for so long that they had to go to the e.r. Either way, it’s another symptom of the broken system.”
New York City hospitals fare no better. A patient-satisfaction survey listed the top 10 metropolitan areas for e.r. care. Madison, Wis., finished first and Hartford, Conn., third.
Albany came in 10, the highest of any city in the state.
(Source: NY Post)