How Long is the ER Wait at St. Mary's Hospital?
Medicare database shows how hospitals across serving Ozaukee County — and the rest of the nation — compare for care.
If you go to the emergency room at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital - Ozaukee, how long will it take before you a health-care professional?
The federal government says 19 minutes on average.
That's better than the national average, but not as good as the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, where the average wait is just nine minutes, according to a new database causing some hospital officials nationwide to cringe.
“With precious little fanfare, Uncle Sam last month rolled out a big, fat database with seven measures comparing a service that many people — healthcare providers and patients alike — consider the most critical any hospital can provide,” Clark wrote.
Data collected in 2011 and early 2012 also tracked things like how long it took for an ER patient with a broken bone to get pain medication, or how long the wait was to get a bed, if they needed admission. Other data showed how long patients spent in the ER before being sent home and whether they received a brain scan if they might have suffered a stroke. It even asked questions about how clean the bathrooms are.
Clark interviewed Dr. Jesse Pines, an emergency room doctor and researcher who directs the center for healthcare quality at George Washington University.
“The theory is that when hospitals report this information, it makes them focus on it, and improve throughout their (Emergency Department),” Pines was quoted as saying.
“But it’s very hard to do. Certain performance measures are easier to fix—like simple process measures like giving patients an aspirin—than improving ED throughput, which involves development of interdisciplinary teams.”
Pines told Clark the public focus good pushes hospital administrators to focus on the emergency room as well as other metrics.
Here's how the two facilities compare to state and national averages
|St. Mary's||Aurora||Wisc. Avg.||U.S. Avg.|
|Average time patients spent in ER before being were admitted as an inpatient||193 minutes||194 minutes||204 minutes||277 minutes|
|Average time patients spent in ER before being sent home||140 minutes||121 minutes||120 minutes||140 minutes|
|Average time patients spent in ER before being being seen by health-care professional||19 minutes||9 minutes||19 minutes||30 minutes|
|Average time patients who came to the ER with broken bones had to wait before receiving pain medication||Too few cases||60 minutes||41 minutes||42 minutes|
In any case, residents can compare the ER care at these two hospitals with any two other local hospitals in the national database.
First go to the Hospital Compare website. Then type in your ZIP code, city or local hospital. When a list of hospitals is displayed, put a checkmark next to two or three hospitals.
Scroll down to a yellow button labeled Compare Now, and click to display more details. Look for a tab called Timely and Effecive Care and click that.
Finally, scroll down to a section called Timely Emergency Department Care. A green button allows you to “View More Details,” displaying something like this page comparing La Mesa’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital against nearby Alvarado Hospital Medical Center and the Kaiser hospital on San Diego’s Zion Avenue.
Were you surprised by any of the stats displayed? Tell us in the comments.