Emergency departments in hospitals treat a wide range of ailments, some of which can be life-threatening, but wait times throughout the country have been increasing.
Studies show that shorter wait times at ERs result in a lower death rate, and that longer wait times can make care more expensive.
Spotlight PA compiled a list of relevant hospital quality data — sourced from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — for the 20 hospitals in the north-central Pennsylvania region with emergency departments.
This includes wait times as well as hospitals’ star ratings, which can help potential patients determine the quality of care they will be receiving and the speed of the services. Like most rating systems, hospital star ratings have been criticized for their limitations, including in a study last year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ star ratings use metrics evaluating mortality, safety, readmission, patient experience, and timely and effective care at the hospitals. This information is self-reported by hospitals, and facilities that don’t report provide enough information are excluded.
This information is available to the public online.
Facility name, overall star rating, county, and median ER wait time:
- UPMC Altoona (four stars), Blair, 3 hours, 29 minutes
- UPMC Wellsboro (four stars), Tioga, 3 hours and 22 minutes
- Evangelical Community Hospital (four stars), Union, 3 hours, 19 minutes
- Mount Nittany Medical Center (five stars), Centre, 3 hours, 6 minutes
- Geisinger Lewistown Hospital (four stars), Mifflin, 3 hours, 4 minutes
- Penn Highlands DuBois (three stars), Clearfield, 2 hours, 53 minutes
- UPMC Williamsport (four stars), Lycoming, 2 hours, 51 minutes
- UPMC Muncy (three stars), Lycoming, 2 hours, 48 minutes
- UPMC Cole (three stars), Potter, 2 hours, 48 minutes
- Penn Highlands Huntingdon (three stars), Huntingdon, 2 hours, 32 minutes
- UPMC Lock Haven (three stars), Clinton, 2 hours, 16 minutes
- Conemaugh Nason Medical Center (not available), Blair, 2 hours, 10 minutes
- Punxsutawney Area Hospital (three stars), Jefferson, 2 hours, 5 minutes
- Penn Highlands Clearfield (three stars), Clearfield, 1 hour, 59 minutes
- Penn Highlands Elk (two stars), Elk, 1 hour, 52 minutes
- Penn Highlands Brookville (four stars), Jefferson, 1 hour, 48 minutes
- Bucktail Medical Center (not available), Clinton, 1 hour, 44 minutes
- Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital (four stars), Lycoming, 1 hour, 41 minutes
- Penn Highlands Tyrone (not available), Blair, 1 hour, 41 minutes
- UPMC Kane (three stars), McKean, 1 hour, 38 minutes
—Ashad Hajela, rural affairs reporter & Report for America corps member