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How local hospital wait times stack up

Plus: Hall of Fame voters, beer at Beaver, and fall fests.


September 29, 2022
Inside this edition: Local hospital wait times, how to be a poll worker, Hall of Fame voters, beer at Beaver & some great fall events. Happy Thursday!
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How our hospitals stack up on wait times

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

🗳️ Election Center
Read our complete coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance data, sample ballots & more at our Election Center 2022 website.

Spotlight on the Issues: Where Mastriano and Shapiro stand on...

Crime & Justice
»  LGTBQ Rights

More issue analyses will be published in the coming weeks.

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides:

»  Your complete guide to the candidates for governor
»  How to vet the candidates on your midterm ballot
»  No constitutional amendments on the ballot, but big ones loom
»  How to serve as a poll worker on Nov. 8
»  These Pa. voters haven't missed a Nov. election for 50+ years
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election

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📝 More From Spotlight PA
» Looming election jolts Harrisburg into action as Pa. lawmakers pass a flurry of bills, cash in on fundraisers

» How to apply for a Pennsylvania property tax rebate or rent rebate

» Shapiro sets spending record, outraises Mastriano in final weeks of governor’s race
📷 Local Gem
A timber rattlesnake in Bald Eagle State Forest — via @kyles_hikes_photography. Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
📰 In Other News
» State College will end water fluoridation early next year. Here’s a look at the timeline(Centre Daily Times)

» Beer stations coming to Beaver Stadium now that Penn State trustees approve selling alcohol during games (WPSU)

» Penn State didn’t tell townships, EMS about stadium alcohol plans beforehand. Some have concerns(Centre Daily Times)

» It's Hunger Awareness Month, but a Centre County organization says food donations are at an all-time low (WPSU)

» Penn State trustees won’t take a position on Nittany Mall Casino (StateCollege.com)

» Broadband survey seeks public input (Altoona Mirror)
📅 Events
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Sept. 29: Celebrate 50 years of the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State at Art After Hours: Museum Birthday Bash.

» Oct. 1: The Baileyville Community Hall hosts a chicken barbecue and fall mum sale.

» Oct. 1-2: The Aaronsburg Civic Club hosts the Dutch Fall Festival.

» Oct. 1-2: Wasson Farm kicks off the first of three weekends of its annual Fall Fest, with hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and classic autumn fare.

» Oct. 2: Author-musicians Larry Kaye and Jerry Zolten talk about their new booksLightening Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll and Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music — at Pine Grove Hall, followed by a live set with Code Blue.
🧩 The Puzzler
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, "spotlight" also forms "stoplight."

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

Good luck!

Last week's answer: Inch

Congrats to Hugh M., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Debbie M., Steve B., Annette B., Patty R., Donna D., Natalie L., Tish M., and Warren D.

Due to a technical problem, we were not able to access some answers, but we'll round them all up for next week's edition and shout out any more winners.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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