Thursday, April 24, 2008

Will Extra Funding to Clinics Ease ER Wait Times?

In a bold move Connecticut is spending $798,558 to significantly improve the staffing and hours of clinics to decrease hospital waiting times and add IT infrastructure to allow ER's to move patients to clinics. But, research north of the border shows that the real congestion in emergency rooms is cause by chronic care patients, rather than those who opt for the ER rather than a clinic. According to Dr. Alan Hudson who heads up Ontario's Wait Time Strategy, the problem is that "too many people using the ER and the wrong people using acute-care hospital beds.". To this end Ontario has pledged $700-million to Ontario's ageing at home strategy which is intended to help stop the use of emergency departments by chronic care patients. It will be interesting to see in the coming years if the step by Connecticut will have any siginificant impact on ER wait times of if it's just a drop in the bucket.

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