Thirty Four Medical Associations Issue Dire Warning about Nation’s Hospitals
Thirty-four national medical associations penned a letter to President Biden calling attention to a crisis decades in the making. Hospitals around the US regularly lack enough beds and staff to treat patients Hospitals commonly try to mitigate the overflow by “boarding“ patients in the Emergency Department (ED) until an inpatient bed becomes available. This strategy, as the letter explains, provides only a temporary fix which can put strain on healthcare workers and result in subpar care. As a result patients often wait for hours for an inpatient bed, to be seen by a healthcare provider, or to be transferred to an appropriate psychiatric or skilled nursing facility.
Many factors contribute to emergency department boarding. However, over the last several months, EDs have approached a “breaking point” that has led healthcare workers to leave the profession alarming rates, creating a self-reinforcing cycle that creates more shortages and ED boarding. The letter stresses that any patient seeking emergency care can be boarded, no matter their insurance coverage, income, condition, age or location.
need. Children with severe psychiatric conditions can be boarded for months in hectic EDs because of the country’s shortage of inpatient mental health facilities. Read the letter for more details.
Full Story: The Hill