Why Do I Have to Wait So Long at the E.R.?

The average wait time in the ER is anywhere from 1-12 hours. The reason for long wait times at ERs throughout the country is because they tend to be overcrowded. Overcrowding is partly due to the decreasing number of emergency departments, lack of insurance, and limited primary physician care.

That being said – the biggest cause of overcrowding/longer wait times at the ER is the people who go to the E.R. to receive care for non-emergency issues. Remember that patients in the ER are triaged: Sicker or more seriously injured people get seen first.

Some health systems, including Carson Tahoe, offer four basic levels of care (outlined below) outside of your primary care physician. By considering location, cost and severity of the care needed you will be able to determine what healthcare setting has the providers and technology that best suits your illness or injury in the most cost-effective and timely manner.

4 Basic Levels of Care:

Level 1: Walk-In Clinics –
Ear Ache
Cough/congestion
Sinus infection
Sore throat
Physicals
Preventative care

Level 2: Urgent Care Clinics –
Lacerations
Sprains
Infections
Upper respiratory infections
Non-life threatening emergencies

Level 3: Emergent Care –
Sprains/broken bones
Lacerations
Mild chest pains
Upper respiratory infections
Non-life threatening emergencies

Level 4: Emergency Services
Shortness of breath
Falls/trauma
Serious illnesses or injury
Signs of stroke
Chest pains
Life threatening emergencies
Patients with underlying health issues

So next time you have a medical issue and your doctor is not available, consider your choices for treatment. Where does your primary care physician fit in to all this? Your physician manages your overall care, coordinates ancillary care, refers and consults with health specialists, and maintains records of all health services. To find a doctor, go to www.blog.carsontahoe.com/directory.

To learn more, visit here.