WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Emergency room patients at New Hanover Regional Medical Center have to wait longer than state and national averages to see a doctor, and if they're admitted, it takes longer for them to be transferred to their room, according to federal data assembled by ProPublica, a non-profit investigative newsroom.
The average time patients spent in the NHRMC emergency room before being seen by a doctor was 59 minutes, compared to a state average of 38 minutes and national average of 28 minutes.
"As the regions only tertiary trauma center we care for very critical patients across an extensive region," said Martha Harlan, NHRMC director of Marketing and Public Relations. "When looking at these data sources it is important to consider hospitals of like size, volume and the level of services provided."
"When we compare ourselves to our peer hospitals, our wait times are comparable, and in many cases shorter. First and foremost we focus on the critical treatment of each patient," Harland said. "At New Hanover Regional Medical Center we use LEAN methodology to continuously evaluate ways we can improve, this is an important part of our daily operations. We are proud of the team that is working to reduce overall wait times."
Wait times at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia and Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Whiteville were slightly shorter than the state average, at 32 minutes and 35 minutes respectively.
The time it took the three hospitals to transfer admitted patients to rooms exceeded the state average of 110 minutes. The average transfer time was 126 minutes at Brunswick, 154 minutes at CRHS, and 165 minutes at NHRMC.
On average, patients with broken bones at CRHS waited 103 minutes before receiving pain medication, 35 minutes longer than the state average and 43 minutes longer than the national average.
"Although we have not been able to study the data thoroughly, it appears that the information presented by the Propublica website is based on CMS data that is over 9 months old," said Terrie Priest, CRHS vice president of business development and community relations. "Since that time CRHS has made and continues to make improvements in ED throughput times."
"Our goal for patients is to be assessed and treated by providers in our emergency department as quickly as possible," Priest said. "Any length of time when you are waiting during an emergency situation can seem too long which is why this month CRHS is implementing an Emergency Services LEAN initiative to identify issues and make improvements for our patients."
The average wait time for patients with broken bones to receive pain meds was 67 minutes at Brunswick and 80 minutes at NHRMC.
The average time patients spent in area emergency rooms before being sent home was shorter than or in line with the state average of 155 minutes.
Data was not available for the other hospitals in the region: Cape Fear Valley-Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown, Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport and Pender Memorial Hospital in Burgaw.
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