At the Crossroads

The doctor will see you now

In At the Crossroads

Jordan Rubio

By Jordan Rubio
March 11, 2015 at 4:44 p.m.


Recently, one of my good friends who lives near Fort Worth broke his leg slipping on some ice and had to go to the emergency room. Luckily, everything turned out all right for him and he got the necessary care in a timely manner.

After talking with him to make sure he was okay, I began to wonder what the state of emergency care looked like in Victoria. Or, more accurately, I wondered what wait times looked like in Victoria emergency rooms. Luckily for me, such data for local hospitals are made available by the federal government.

Using data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which was cleaned up and turned into a searchable database by ProPublica, I looked at the two hospitals in the City of Victoria, Citizens Medical Center and DeTar Hospital, to see how their wait times compared to the state and rest of the country. 

The data in question were collected between April 2013 and March 2014 and are the latest data available from the center.

It is important to note that experts have said very small differences between hospitals for any one category are unlikely to be noticeable in the real world.

Please also note the data represent averages, and should not be consulted during an emergency. Patients who are experiencing a severe medical emergency will be shuttled to the front of an emergency room's list.

In conclusion, your experience may differ from what the data represent.

The doctor will see you shortly

To start off, I took a look at these four categories for both hospitals in Victoria: 

  • Wait Time: Average time patients spent in the emergency room before being seen by a doctor.
  • Sent Home: Average time patients spent in the emergency room before being sent home.
  • Broken Bone: Average time patients with broken bones had to wait before receiving pain meds.
  • Transfer Time: Among patients admitted, additional time they spent waiting before being taken to their room.

Using the data I got from the ProPublica database, I created the following two charts comparing each Victoria-area hospital's averages to state and national averages. Let's start with DeTar.


Values in minutes

As you can see,  DeTar is faster in every category than both the state and national averages. In fact, DeTar's wait time is tied for the 29th fastest in the state.

Now, what do the data look like for Citizens Medical? 


Values in minutes

While Citizens doesn't have the low averages that DeTar has, it does have roughly the same mean times as the state and rest of the country. 

When it comes to these four categories, you could do a lot worse than either Citizens or DeTar.

The doctor will see you now

On the whole, emergency rooms in Victoria match or beat the state and national averages when it comes to these four categories.

However, there are also a couple of other important categories that I looked at in addition to the ones analyzed above: time before admission and the percentage of patients who left without being seen by a doctor.

When it comes to time before admission, which is simply the average time admitted patients spent in an emergency  room before being admitted to the hospital, Citizens and DeTar both beat the state and national averages.

Time before admission:

  • Citizens: 3 hours, 28 minutes
  • DeTar: 3 hours, 21 minutes
  • Texas: 4 hours, 33 minutes
  • USA: 4 hours, 34 minutes

In fact, both Victoria-based hospitals beat the state and national averages by more than an hour.

As for the other category, the percentage of patients who left without being seen by a doctor Citizens and DeTar compared well to the Texas and U.S. averages too.

Patients left:

  • Citizens: 1%
  • DeTar: 3%
  • Texas: 3%
  • USA: 1%

Both Texas and DeTar lagged behind the national average in this regard, but Citizens did an excellent job to make sure very few patients left before seeing a doctor.

Eh...what's up, doc?

So, there you have it: a brief look at wait times in Victoria-area hospitals. 

As I said before, these data represent averages and your experience may differ at either one of these hospitals. Additionally, this information should not be consulted in an emergency. 

Finally, these data will be updated as newer information is collected and made available. Hence, the numbers in ProPublica may be different from the ones in this post in the future.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or contact me.  If you want to know more about a particular area of the data, please contact me as well; the data collected by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services goes much, much deeper for each individual hospital.

With all this said, I wish you all good health and hope you can avoid the emergency room for the future.

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