Emergency Room Performance Improves In New York


In the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) state-by-state rankings New York has gained some ground, jumping eight spots since the rankings were last published in 2009.  However, emergency rooms in New York still have the fourth-longest average wait time in the country.  The long waits have led to a surge of medical malpractice awards.

New York moved up in the rankings because of its solid marks in disaster preparedness, the increased adoption of electronic medical records, as well as the influx of registered nurses and board-certified emergency room doctors.

However, there are some aspects of New York’s emergency medical system that continue to become worse.  For example, patients in emergency rooms across the state wait on average over six hours to obtain treatment and walk out the door.  This is compared to the national average of just over four and a half hours.  In fact the state with the shortest wait time was South Dakota.

While the 2009 report did not include the average wait time for New York emergency rooms, doctors have been interviewed and they are confident that wait times overall have increased due to the aging population in the state, the shortage of primary care doctors, and the closure of hospitals.  New York has the highest hospital occupancy rate in the entire country, with 80.3 patients per 100 staffed beds.  The state also has the fourth fewest emergency room departments per capita, at eight for every one million people.

This issue is particularly pronounced in New York City, where at any given time there could be 30 patients who are taking up space in the emergency department even after they have been admitted to the hospital already.  In addition, New York needs more than 500 full-time primary care physicians to meet the needs of the states increasingly older population.

It has also been argued that due to increasing medical malpractice awards, some highly specialized doctors are shying away from “messy” emergency cases if they are perceived to be an increased malpractice risk.  In the report, New York received a grade of F for its medical liability environment due to the increase in malpractice payments, with average awards being $409,773, and increase from $356,003.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of emergency room medical malpractice, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.