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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Emergency Department Wait Time Guarantees

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) opposes emergency department wait time guarantees. Wait time guarantees potentially compromise patient care by forcing emergency physicians to reduce their attention on truly emergent patients to ensure that less-emergent patients are seen within the wait time guarantee interval. As wait-time guarantees do not take into account patient acuity or surges in patient volume, they may put the most critical patients in the emergency department at risk. Although EDs strive to increase efficiency to minimize patient delays, wait time guarantees should be discouraged.

May 7, 2014