BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Whether they are sick or hurt, no one like waiting for hours and hours to see a doctor at a hospital’s emergency room.

Now one healthcare provider is trying to change that – for a price.

Nine Tenet hospitals in South Florida, including North Shore Medical Center and Hialeah Hospital are offering emergency room patients the opportunity to reserve an appointment online for a fee.

For $9.99 patients with non-life-threatening conditions can make a reservation at or on the hospitals’ websites. Tenet guarantees patients will get their money back if they are not seen by a health care professional within 15 minutes of the appointment time.

Surveys indicate the average wait time is four hours in a U.S. emergency room. The hospitals participating in the online system believe patients are likely to prefer paying a fee to guarantee quick entrance.

Some doctors have raised concerns that patients experiencing a true emergency might delay treatment, preferring to wait for a reservation.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (5)
  1. Carol says:

    That is extremely good idea but it really won’t work if you have an emergency there is no way you can call for an appointment right right.

    This might stop the people who go there with a sore toe but other than that I can’t see that working but that is my thought.

  2. Betty says:

    I think if it’s an emergency, how can you make an appointment, non sense, if the life of your chilld is in danger, I don’t know who invented, probably somebody that doesn’t have the

  3. Phil Gaines Forklift says:

    Today I got food poisoning…I’m not sure when I’m going to use it.
    Steven Wright

  4. Jay says:

    Having worked in hospitals for nearly 40 years, I know this is mostly a PR promotion to attract patients to their hospital. It works since many people use the ER as their primary source of healthcare. However, if on any day, there is not sufficient staff on duty, or a real emergency situation ( such as an auto accident with multiple injuries) that 15 min. waiting time can turn into hours. If you are lucky and it is a slow day, making an appointment for minor emergencies can make sense.

  5. candace1952 says:

    And remember, “being seen by a health care professional” isn’t the same as been seen by a doctor, getting treated, and getting the hell out of there. I suspect an RN will call you in real quick, take your vitals, and tell you to go wait for 4 hours.

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