You Could Die Waiting In New York Hospitals


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.

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(Source: NY Post)


  1. The crazy question I have is why are all you people still living in that insane city? highest taxes, no quality of life, cramped, smelly, dangerous, whats keeping you there other than a few good restaurants?

  2. My experience with a hospital emergency room (not in New York): they refused to treat my young son — who had a severe head injury, which was bleeding — until they completed a time-consuming check of our Blue Cross/Blue Shield (medical insurance) coverage.

  3. To Avraham,
    It is illegal in this country to deny emergency treatment. When you say “not in New York”, do you mean not in USA? You have a right to refuse to provide insurance information(name/address-without the ID-will suffice), when you require ER treatment.

  4. @Mark Levin: your enemy Bloomberg doesn’t run the hospitals. The majority are private/non-profit and a few are HHC. Save your ammo for stuff Bloomberg is responsible for.

    As for the report: time in the waiting room is not a good indicator. The better questions are how quickly critical patients are seen and how quickly patients are admitted into the hospital and are out of the ED.

  5. To Commenters No. 5, 6, and 7:
    Thank you for your concern. Thank G-d, my son recovered fully.

    The E.R. was at Childrens Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

  6. 8, the bottom line is no matter what Obama tells you, there is NO SUCH THING as denying medial attention in the USA, regardless of whether or not they think you could afford it.

    It may be that 4’s policy requires the insurance company to be notified before treatment in cases where it isnt life threatening. If thats the case, he has himself to “blame” for getting such a policy.

  7. “My experience with a hospital emergency room (not in New York): they refused to treat my young son — who had a severe head injury, which was bleeding”

    All hospitals are like this. First they bandage it, then they make you wait for paper work or clearance. They won’t fix it up with stitches or whatever until they know they will have payment.

    To the so-called “expert” -you don’t know American law. The only thing required of hospitals is to treat life-threating illness or injury, not everything that walks in the door of the ED. Usually, a head injury isn’t life-threating! I’m sure they checked it out before making him wait to see if his insurance would cover the treatment!