Inspection finds overcrowding at Memphis VA's ER

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Inspector General says that chronic overcrowding in the Memphis VA's emergency department compromises patient safety and that at times some patients were waiting up to 14 hours to be admitted or transferred to another hospital.

According to a report released Wednesday, the inspector general visited the Memphis VA's emergency department after a complaint was made about long wait times, shortage of beds and unresponsiveness from the management.

The inspection report said that on average more than a quarter of patients spent more than six hours in the emergency room before being admitted or transferred.

The report noted that the hospital had reduced the number of inpatient beds, wasn't providing 24-hour ultrasound services and couldn't admit mental health patients during the overnight hours even if beds were available.

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