PAMED Advocacy Priorities


EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OVERCROWDING

PAMED Addresses Emergency Department Overcrowding

Board of Trustees created a task force to address the issue of emergency department (ED) overcrowding in Pennsylvania. Led by President, Kristen Sandel, MD, the task force issued a letter to Governor Shapiro, urging him to address this issue at a state level.

What is ED Overcrowding?

Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding is a dire problem facing rural and metropolitan communities across Pennsylvania. The issues leading to overcrowding are multifactorial and result in more patients presenting in the emergency department than the health care staff can accommodate.

Background

The primary cause of ED overcrowding is “boarding”, the practice of holding patients in the emergency department after they have been admitted to the hospital, because no inpatient beds are available. Boarding is a decades long, unresolved problem that was only brought to its brink during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become its own public health emergency which has negatively impacted healthcare systems, patients, and the community at large.

How does this affect Pennsylvania physicians?

Emergency physicians, care teams and staff continue to do all they can to treat and stabilize every patient that needs care in Pennsylvania. ED overcrowding has led to high rates of clinician and nurse turnover and high rates of burnout. Physicians should be able to focus on what they do best, which is giving every patient in Pennsylvania quality health care.

In the News

Listen to Physicians This is Impacting

Emergency Physician Kristen Sandel, MD explains the pervasive issue of emergency department overcrowding in Pennsylvania.

Watch Kristen Sandel, MD
Family physician Andrew Lutzkanin, MD gives the primary care point of view on emergency department overcrowding.

Watch Andrew Lutzkanin, MD
Psychiatrist Emily Beary, DO gives the behavioral health point of view on emergency department overcrowding.

Watch Emily Beary, DO

"We want the governor’s team to look at this issue from a state level to see what can be done from a regulation standpoint. If there is a reportable metric we can look at for each hospital, we can see how access can be improved."

– Kristen Sandel, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, 2024 PAMED President


Watch President-elect Kristen Sandel, MD, on Pennsylvania Newsmakers to discuss ED overcrowding

 

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