The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says patients reporting to emergency rooms in Maryland are likely to wait over twice as long as the national average—53 minutes vs 22 minutes. Greater Baltimore Medical Center (BMBC), whose ED clocked an average wait time of 60 minutes, suggested patients could get in and out much more efficiently if nonemergent patients sought care in a more appropriate environment, such as BMBC’s primary care offices. This echoes what the urgent care industry has been saying for years: visiting the ED with symptoms of a sinus infection or a superficial wound costs patients time and insurers more money than they should be spending. Collect current data on your own wait times and fees and start telling your story to local media, insurers, and even the local hospital (who may be more than happy to suggest patients visit you instead of sitting in their waiting room, suffering needlessly and getting angrier by the minute). Once patients understand they can go to an urgent care center and spend a fraction of the time waiting for treatment, they may be more likely to pay a return visit.
CMS Says Maryland ‘Tops’ the List for ED Wait Times