CMS Posts ED Wait Times, Rankling Some Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , March 7, 2013

"Anytime you put information on a federal website geared to help patients make decisions, and it's not correct, and it makes you look a lot worse than you are, it's safe to say they're not pleased, and rightfully so," Bloye says.

In this first round of ED reports, hospitals voluntarily submitted their times for each of seven measures of ED care provided between Jan 1 and March 31 of 2012. Data was submitted to CMS as part of a federal pay-for-reporting initiative.

If hospitals volunteer their data, they receive more money—another 2% of Medicare's market payment update for the hospital's ambulatory care.  Indeed, several thousand hospitals opted not to submit any or all of their ED wait times for that quarter.

Eventually, these reporting measures are expected to evolve from a voluntary reporting program to a required pay for performance one designed to measure outpatient care in a way similar to the value-based purchasing program prescribed by the health reform law, and which is now in effect, for inpatient care.

Below are the seven new CMS emergency department measures and a list of hospitals with the longest wait times. For the last one on time to head CT, only two hospitals were said to have enough cases to represent reliable data.

1.Average (median) time patients spent in the emergency department, before they were admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. A lower number of minutes is better.


  1. Sayre Memorial in Sayre OK—1,570.
  2. Gov. Juan F. Luis in St. Croix, VI—1,025
  3. Los Angeles County +University of Southern California Medical Center—979
  4. UNM Hospital in Albuquerque, NM—945
  5. Brookhaven Memorial, Patchogue, NY—919
  6. Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Moreno Valley, CA —848
  7. Harris Health System, Houston, TX—794
  8. Hospital Hermanos, Bayamon, PR—778
  9. Community Regional Medical Center , Fresno—762
  10. Alameda County Medical Center, Oakland—752


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