Wait times in Texas emergency rooms dropped by 14 minutes between 2008 and 2009, the second biggest improvement among all 50 states, according to a new study by the health care research group Press Ganey.
The drop may not seem like much; it still takes 244 minutes — or just over 4 hours — to be seen by an ER doctor in Texas, according to the 2010 Emergency Department Pulse Report. But Texas' 14-minute improvement was second only to Nevada, which saw a 66-minute drop in the same time period.
Texas' 4-hour wait ranks mid-pack nationally: The state is tied for 26th place with Massachusetts and New Jersey. Iowa ranks first, with a comparatively short 175-minute wait time. Utah comes in last, with a 497-minute wait.
No Texas cities appear on the study's top 10 list of metropolitan areas with the highest emergency department satisfaction scores.
Still, the study of 1.5 million patients treated at 1,893 hospitals found that — despite increasing overcrowding in ERs, and a drop in the number of hospitals operating emergency departments — U.S. hospitals still get generally high marks for patient satisfaction.
"Hospitals have managed to overcome rising demand and overcrowding to avoid a drop-off in perceptions of [emergency department] care," the report notes.