Disparities in Emergency Department Wait Time Among Patients with Mental Health and Substance-Related Disorders

  • Samuel T. Opoku
  • Bettye A. Apenteng
  • Emmanuel A. Akowuah
  • Soumitra Bhuyan


This study examined disparities in emergency department (ED) wait time for patients with mental health and substance-related disorders (PwMHSDs), using data from the 2009–2011 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). Wait time was defined as the time between arrival at ED and being seen by an ED provider. Results from multivariable regression models show racial disparities, with non-Hispanic Black PwMHSDs experiencing longer ED wait time, compared to non-Hispanic White PwMHSDs. A temporal decline in ED wait time was also observed over the study period. The findings of this study have implications for informing the development of policies tailored at facilitating the delivery of equitable emergency care services to all PwMHSDs.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel T. Opoku
    • 1
  • Bettye A. Apenteng
    • 1
  • Emmanuel A. Akowuah
    • 1
  • Soumitra Bhuyan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and Management Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public HealthGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Systems Management and PolicyThe University of MemphisMemphisUSA

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