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N.J. Hospital Advertises 7-Minute ER Wait Times

Bold Statement Broadcasted All Over Garden State Highways
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A billboard for Bayonne Medical Center - Jersey City, NJ - Apr 12, 2011 (credit: Levon Putney / WCBS 880)

A billboard for Bayonne Medical Center – Jersey City, NJ – Apr 12, 2011 (credit: Levon Putney / WCBS 880)

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — You’ve probably experienced waiting endlessly in an emergency room. But now a New Jersey hospital is trying to change the image of the over-packed ER by letting you know how long you’ll have to wait to be seen by a doctor.

Want to know how long your wait will be inside Bayonne Medical Center’s emergency room?

Just check out the billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike or another one placed right in the center of Jersey City’s Journal Square, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“Seven minutes seems pretty good to me,” said Mike Rowan of Jersey City, adding when asked if that would make him want to check out the hospital, “Not really. I don’t want to be there if I don’t have to be.”

“Possibly, I might just want to go there just because of that 7 minutes because I know Jersey City Medical Center takes a little bit longer,” one man told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: The New Campaign Would Work On Some

No one wants to end up in an emergency room and chances are those who do will never see the billboards. But the medical center’s CEO, Daniel Kane, said it’s a great way to market the hospital’s commitment to care.

“We want the community to know we can offer them high quality care in a very efficient timely manner,” Kane said.

“If people are going to get sick they are going to get sick and the issue is where do you go where you can get the best care and the most timely care?” Kane told Putney.

The emergency room waiting area at midday is often empty, exactly how doctors said they’d like to see it remain.

“What you want to do is eliminate all wait times and we’ve made a commitment. All of our patients, especially critical patients, will be seen immediately upon arrival and everybody else within an average of 30 minutes,” said Dr. Mark Spektor, the head of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Andrea Felder of Jersey City said she brought her son to the Bayonne Medical Center’s emergency room.

“He came in, went right straight in. They did the surgery on Sunday. They’re excellent,” Felder said.

Still, the Bayonne Medical Center is the only hospital in the Tri-State Area doing this. At a time when hospitals are struggling to compete, this may be one way of bringing patients in.

In 2012, hospitals are supposed to begin reporting to Medicare how fast their ERs move certain patients through, part of a push to increase quality of care across the board. Experts believe the longer patients stay in an emergency department, the more likely they are to have complications.

A 2009 report from Congress’ investigative arm found that too often, patients who should have been seen immediately waited nearly a half hour.

Do you believe the hype? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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