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Report: LA hospital overcrowding getting worse

March 23, 2011 12:52:51 AM PDT
The overcrowding at County-USC Medical Center appears to be getting significantly worse, according to a new report.

In February 2011, County-USC was considered dangerously overcrowded 65 percent of the time. Just two months earlier, the hospital was only considered dangerously overcrowded 15 percent of the time.

Wait times have also gone up dramatically. In February 2011, the average wait time was 10 hours, but in December 2010, the average wait time was 6.5 hours.

The county health director blames the numbers on the economy, saying since many people don't have jobs, they don't have health insurance.

But others say it's just a blatant case of hospital mismanagement, admitting people who shouldn't be hospitals for emergency procedures.

Whatever the reason is, health officials say the problem could get worse.

Dr. Mitchell H. Katz told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that he's concerned overcrowding at County-USC and Harbor-UCLA medical centers will persist after the federal healthcare reform law is implemented in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.