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Top 10 US States With The Longest Emergency Room Waits, 2020

Emergency department visits have increased by almost 50% from 1995 to 2017 in the US. The coronavirus threat is pushing nowadays more people to visit an emergency room so this percentage is going to increase further. Also, during the years from 1995 to 2007 has grown the rate of emergency room visits reaching 445 visits per thousand residents in 2017 compared to 360 in 1995. Furthermore, nationwide, patients who are ultimately admitted to the hospital spend a median of 103 minutes waiting in the emergency department for an inpatient room after the doctor decides to admit them.

Researchers at AutoInsurance.org analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Family Foundation to find which states have the longest emergency department wait times. Researchers ranked the top 10 states with the longest median wait times for patients that are ultimately admitted to the hospital as inpatients and the findings were published in March 2020.

These are the top 10 states with the longest emergency department wait times:

  1. District of Columbia
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 286 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 236 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 698
  2. Delaware
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 153 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 186 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 4%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 467
  3. New York
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 153 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 178 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 433
  4. Maryland
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 152 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 210 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 392
  5. Connecticut
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 152 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 159 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 480

  6. New Jersey
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 150 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 166 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 231
  7. California
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 150 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 160 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 341
  8. Rhode Island
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 147 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 185 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 390
  9. Massachusetts
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 131 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 173 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 485
  10. Hawaii
    Median time waiting for inpatient room: 131 minutes
    Median time in the emergency department (discharged patients): 122 minutes
    Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
    Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 317

Not to forget to mention that less than 1% of emergency room visits require immediate attention and only 9.9% are categorized as emergent. While almost a third of emergency department visits are deemed urgent, nearly another third fall into less than urgent categories.

When it comes to getting people seen initially nationwide over 40% of patients are seen by a physician or nurse within 15 minutes of checking in. But, 14% of visits have an initial wait time exceeding one hour and approximately 2% of patients leave the hospital without being seen at all.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidouis a staff writer at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is a confident writer and a tenacious copy editor, with a strong grasp of advanced concepts in business, technology, travel, fashion, and finance. A native of Athens, Greece, she graduated from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens with a degree in in public administration (economics of the public sector). Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook. Write at maria-gourtsilidou@ceoworld.biz