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As COVID-19 surges, Emergency Department wait times at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center remain low

Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System
Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System

Averaging a 13-minute wait time over the past 60-days, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s Emergency Department is maintaining a short wait for Lowcountry Veterans.

Not only are Veterans spending a short time in the waiting room and triage, but once taken back to a room, they are also only waiting 13-minutes on average to see a provider.

“With an increase in workload related to COVID-19 and testing, staff out sick, and a national nursing shortage, I am extremely proud of our dedicated staff that serve around the clock to ensure that our Veterans are being seen quickly for their emergency needs,” said Charleston VA ED Nurse Manager Joye Onorato.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Charleston VA’s full-service ED has seen a continuous increase in the number of Veterans presenting with urgent needs, with a record census recorded in December 2021. However, the high-quality care and efficiency remain the standard.

Just last month the Charleston Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army presented AUSA's quarterly Veteran Experience Award to the Emergency Department at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System. For five years straight, the ED has improved every single patient survey metric, and ranks among the top 10% of Emergency Departments according to Press Ganey survey results.  

The Ralph H. Johnson VA’s ED renovation in 2019 tripled the square footage, added 9 new bays, 4 dedicated mental health rooms, state-of-the-art technology, an additional nurse’s station, work rooms for staff, and privacy for our Veterans - all to bring the best care to our Lowcountry heroes.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System has been a top-rated hospital in health care quality for many years, when compared to both community and VA hospitals, recently receiving the only 5-star rating for a medical facility in the state of South Carolina for patient satisfaction. The short ED wait time is another key factor demonstrating how Charleston VA is excelling at high level service within the community, the state, and the country.

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