Iowa emergency room wait times rising

Sliding doors of emergency room in hospital

Photo: Getty Images

(Des Moines, IA) -- If you have to go to a hospital emergency room in one of Iowa's larger cities, be prepared to wait hours before you see a doctor. Dr. Gary Hemann, Chief Medical Officer of MercyOne in Des Moines says the wait time can be significant if your case is lower priority than others needing more urgent care. He says there are several reasons. He says summer is always busier and urban hospitals are seeing more rural patients, as small town hospitals scale back critical care and labor and delivery services.

Dr. Hemann says the population has also gradually shifted to Iowa's larger urban centers, which has increased the patient load in general. Another factor he says is the shortage of health care professionals including nurses. He says the pandemic may be a contributing factor as well, increasing stressors on health care providers who may be opting out of the profession. He notes for those interested in a career in health care, there are numerous opportunities.

Dr. Hemann says the long wait time in the ER is a phenomenon that is new to the Midwest. He says it's been much more common in larger hospitals on the east and west coasts.

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