Hospitals Work To Reduce Wait Times, Readmission Rates

The Baltimore Sun writes about hospitals working to reduce emergency room wait times and then advertising the results. "St. Joseph Medical Center [in Towson, Md.] posts the anticipated wait time on its website. Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore has put up billboards and handed out brochures door-to-door to tell residents about its 'quick' emergency room experience. Hospitals in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan and Tennessee are texting and e-mailing potential patients, posting real-time waits on billboards and taking other steps to tout their speedy service. Some hospitals are changing because they view the emergency room as a 'front door' to the hospital and a link to future — and more lucrative — business such as elective surgery. ... Some critics warn that the ads can be gimmicks in a competitive market like Maryland's, where there are 48 emergency departments to choose from." (Cohn, 6/18).

Philadelphia Business Journal: "The New Jersey Hospital Association's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety said Thursday it is launching a year-long collaborative partnership to reduce hospital readmissions prompted by heart failure. More than 50 hospitals, nursing homes, home health-care providers and hospice programs are participating" (George, 6/17).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.