UVA and Sentara decreasing wait times at their Emergency Departments

One study says people are waiting in emergency departments longer than pre-pandemic times.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 11:11 AM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, people are waiting in emergency departments longer than pre-pandemic times: Roughly, 3 hours on average.

The University of Virginia and Sentara say they’re not seeing an increase in wait times.

“All in all, we’ve actually decreased our times over the last year, and I think that we have room to go, and we’re always trying to improve,” Sentara Martha Jefferson Chief Medical Officer Doctor Paul Tesoriere said.

UVA says wait times at the Medical Center have dropped by nearly 40 minutes since it implemented a new model over the summer.

“The first month of implementation, we saw a significant drop in the length of stay of patients in the Emergency Department across the board, those that were admitted, those that were seen and discharged,” UVA Medical Director of the Emergency Department Doctor William Brady said. “Patients are now seeing a doctor on average, about 19 minutes after arrival.”

Dr. Tesoriere says other facilities could be having a problem for two reasons: “Number one, I think the pandemic took a toll on the overall health care workforce. And, as well as, the availability of primary-care providers around really across the country.”

While timing isn’t a big issue locally, Dr. Tesoriere says prioritizing conditions is what’s most important.

“Patients that come by rescue squad are oftentimes sicker. They will come to the back of the Works Department and get seen sooner, in general, just because we are triaging based on severity of illness,” the doctor said.

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