Document Type

Issue Brief

Publication Date

7-7-2006

Abstract

If the time comes, people expect that the emergency department (ED) will have the resources necessary to treat them in a timely, high-quality manner. Increasingly, however, EDs may not be able to meet that expectation. Hospitals in urban areas with large populations, high population growth, and higher-than-average numbers of uninsured are particularly crowded: ambulances are often diverted to other hospitals and patients are frequently forced to “board” in the hallways (while they wait to be transferred to another facility or part of the hospital). This issue brief places EDs in the context of the U.S. health care system and its economics, discusses existing ED capacity and utilization, where crowding is happening and ways of measuring it, what is causing crowding in EDs, and the consequences of crowding. It highlights a number of potential ways to alleviate crowding at both the health system and the individual hospital level.

Comments

Issue brief no. 811

Open Access

yes

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.