Hospital Execs, Other ‘Local’ VIPs Tend to Get Fast Care In ER
MSNBC: Docs Admit Hospital VIPs Get Faster Care In The ER
In a country where the average emergency room wait now tops four hours, it's a rare American patient who doesn't wonder whether a hefty hospital donation or a family connection may be the secret to getting speedier care. Now, it turns out, the answer appears to be yes, at least according to a pair of small but telling surveys that conclude that being a VIP in the ER does come with certain perks. In a letter published in this week's Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. A.J. Smally of Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut reports that more than half of the 33 emergency department medical directors in his state said they routinely provide so-called "expedited" care to influential people. He's not talking about celebrities, politicians or the occasional superstar basketball player. When they show up, it can shut down an entire ER. Instead, it's locally important people in a position to help a particular medical center who get a little extra attention: corporate donors, hospital administrators, or, say, the brother-in-law of the president of the board of directors (Aleccia, 9/30).