Advertising emergency room wait times gains popularity

From the LA Times:

In part to ease the minds of those seeking emergency care — or at least disclose how bad the wait will be — a growing number of suburban emergency rooms around the country are advertising wait times.

Some post the times on their websites. Others tweet, send text messages or display the times on huge highway billboards. A few are testing a service by a start-up company, InQuickER, that allows patients to register online, pay a small fee and hold their place in line while they wait at home.

“Emergency rooms are so taxed in this day and age for all the reasons — access to healthcare providers, available beds, nursing shortages and ever-increasing populations,” said Jeannette Skinner, chief operations officer at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital in San Antonio, where the hospital posts and tweets its emergency room wait times. “For us, the main driver was to give the community some control. . . . We want people to be able to see this and make their own decisions.”

WI Ski Lift Accident Multicasuality Response

From Baraboo News Republic:

Dr. Kansas DuBray was working a shift in the Emergency Room at St. Clare Hospital Thursday night when the call came in.

A ski lift at Devil’s Head Resort was working normally when it suddenly reversed direction, causing frightened skiers to jump from 40 feet in the air to avoid smashing into a wall at the bottom.

“Anytime you get a call that there’s a potential disaster that happened, everybody’s on edge,” Dr. DuBray said. “I just went about doing what I needed to do to get the ER cleaned up and get as many beds ready as possible.”

Seven skiers were on their way to St. Clare and seven others were being transported to Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital.

“By the time the first ambulance rolled through the bay we were more than adequately staffed,” DuBray said, adding that five physicians were on hand, as well as extra lab and X-ray technicians. “It actually went pretty well. I was proud to work here.”

Minnesota Legislation Helps Put Veterans in Rural Areas as Medics

From JEMS:

Help could be on the way to help rural areas that don’t have enough emergency medical care personnel.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar filed an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that helps reduce the shortage of emergency medical personnel in rural communities while simultaneously increasing job opportunities for returning veterans.

The amendment is based on the Veterans-to-Paramedics Transition Act, which would streamline civilian paramedic training for returning veterans who already have emergency medical experience as a result of their military service.