State ERs in need of speed

California given failing grade for emergency-room waiting times

For the second time, an advocacy group has given California’s hospitals an “F” for speedy emergency-room treatments.

An updated report card from the American College of Emergency Physicians rated how well states support prompt emergency care, noting that California has the fewest ERs per capita in the nation at 6.7 per 1 million residents, according to the Los Angeles Times. The report’s authors called overcrowding in the state’s ERs a “critical problem,” finding that, on average, people admitted to a hospital after visiting the emergency room left more than 5 1/2 hours after arriving.

The authors said ER overcrowding is due in part to a lack of primary-care access for Californians newly insured through the Affordable Care Act who go to ERs for routine care.

The Golden State also received a failing grade in 2009, the last time the group produced its rankings.