A new study has been released showing that wait times in Connecticut Emergency Rooms is slightly higher than the national average of 28 minutes. Danbury and New Milford Hospitals were lower at 25 and 18 minutes respectively.
New Milford Hospital Emergency Room director Dr. Tom Koobation says a shortage of primary care physicians or those who won't accept new patients will lead to longer waits. He says Western Connecticut Health Network hasn't put anything specific in place yet to deal with the projected increase in ER visits. But he says they are planning for it because of the increase in Emergency Department visits seen in Massachusetts when that state expanded health care coverage.
Dr. Koobation says they are trying to build the Primary Care Physician infrastructure of WCHN to accommodate an expected increase in people needing medical attention so they don't spill over to ER.
He says increased coverage is a good thing, but doesn't necessarily translate to fewer people in the ER. Dr. Koobation says a lot of people signing up for health care coverage are on Medicaid, but there are many physicians who don't participate in Medicaid. He says that can cause increases in ER visits if they can't get access.
The State Office of Health Care Access annual hospital report shows that ER visits increased from 2011 to 2012 by 3.2 percent.