A February 28th article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the plight of emergency room patients at the University of Chicago Medical Center .  According to the article, medical center administration had plans to decrease the number of hospital beds allocated to patients coming through the medical center’s ER.  Opponents of the plan proclaimed that patient safety and ER waiting times would be negatively impacted.  They alluded that the administration’s motivation for cutting the bed supply was to make more room for insured patients that bring higher margins to the hospital.  The WSJ article states that the plan to reduce ER beds at the University Medical Center is now on hold after protests from some of the medical staff.  Also cited in the article are some frightening statistics on how long ER patients are currently waiting at UCMC to be seen by a physician.   A 2007 internal report on the emergency department says that on many afternoons and evenings, the wait-to-be-seen times often exceed 8 hours.  The very sickest patients who require admission to the ICU may wait up to 14 hours!  Of course, as a physician I know that what is happening at UCMC is happening in emergency rooms across America. The article seems timely in juxtaposition to an announcement made today by another University Medical Center.  The Penn State Milton S

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The no waiting, ER “waiting room”

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