KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospitals Work To Reduce Wait Times, Readmission Rates

The Baltimore Sun writes about hospitals working to reduce emergency room wait times and then advertising the results. "St. Joseph Medical Center [in Towson, Md.] posts the anticipated wait time on its website. Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore has put up billboards and handed out brochures door-to-door to tell residents about its 'quick' emergency room experience. Hospitals in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan and Tennessee are texting and e-mailing potential patients, posting real-time waits on billboards and taking other steps to tout their speedy service. Some hospitals are changing because they view the emergency room as a 'front door' to the hospital and a link to future - and more lucrative - business such as elective surgery. ... Some critics warn that the ads can be gimmicks in a competitive market like Maryland's, where there are 48 emergency departments to choose from." (Cohn, 6/18).

Philadelphia Business Journal: "The New Jersey Hospital Association's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety said Thursday it is launching a year-long collaborative partnership to reduce hospital readmissions prompted by heart failure. More than 50 hospitals, nursing homes, home health-care providers and hospice programs are participating" (George, 6/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.