30+ healthcare groups urge President Biden to convene summit on ED delays

Advocacy, public health and medical specialty organizations signed a nine-page joint letter describing the ambulance bed crisis in a series of stories

Ambulances Held Hostage

When does a patient become the hospital's legal responsibility? When can EMS crews leave patients and return to service? A major factor contributing to the current shortage of available EMS personnel and units is the increasing frequency of lengthy hospital bed delays. 

In the Ambulances Held Hostage series, find analysis, webinars, podcasts and downloadable resources from industry experts, and learn more about the legal and ethical responsibility to patients at the ED, from patient handoffs and signatures to EMTALA; as well as strategies EMS agencies can deploy unilaterally to reduce ED wait times.

By Leila Merrill
FireRescue1/EMS1 Staff

IRVING, Texas — The American College of Emergency Physicians and dozens of other healthcare organizations concerned about the strained U.S. emergency care system and the issue of boarding at emergency departments are urging the Biden administration “to convene a summit of stakeholders from across the healthcare system to identify immediate and long-term solutions to this urgent problem.”

More than 30 patient advocacy, public health and medical specialty organizations signed a nine-page joint letter sent to President Joe Biden on Monday in which the emergency department boarding and gridlock crisis is described in a series of stories.

Particular attention is brought to this winter’s threat of flu, COVID-19 and pediatric respiratory illness cases that have been rising.

“If the system is already this strained during our “new normal,” how will emergency departments be able to cope with a sudden surge of patients from a natural disaster, school shooting, mass casualty traffic event, or disease outbreak?” the letter asks.

The letter was also sent to the U.S. secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Doctors have been praising the effort and pressing for change.


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