Va. Hospitals Try To Cut Emergency Room Crowds

October 3, 2010

Hospitals in parts of Virginia are trying to reduce emergency room overcrowding.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that some hospitals allow patients
to look up wait times and others have adopted policies that
patients don't have to wait at all at the emergency room.

Hospitals are responding as the number of people visiting
emergency rooms increases and using the ER as a marketing tool.

Virginia Health Information figures show ER visits rose 17 %
to 3.3 million in 2008, from 2.8 million in 2004.

Dr. Carl Wetzel, former president of the Virginia College of
Emergency Physicians, says the ER is now the front door to
hospitals.

Hospitals such as Riverside Regional Medical Center in
Newport News let patients look up wait times and pay to reserve
space.


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