Regarding the article Emergency department crowding a lingering problem, GAO report says:
Working in emergency departments for more than 30 years, I have been witness to the struggles that the GAO report mentions. As a senior consultant working with emergency departments across the U.S., I know they are working hard to be the safety net for the medical community. Unfortunately, emergency departments are challenged with less and less resources to handle the increasing volume and acuity of patients who are older, sicker and often without primary care. On top of that, there are fewer physicians and nurses being produced due to the cuts in federal funding, which further increases the burden placed on staffing emergency departments. While emergency departments across this country are trying diligently to improve each process they do, standards for inpatient care because of boarding are being mandated.
Examples include: chest pain timelines, i.e. ECG, in 10 minutes; stroke centers, i.e. CT, in five minutes; and meds in 30 minutes.