DOD Health Care:

Pediatric and Other Emergency Room Care

HRD-88-113: Published: Sep 28, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) provision of emergency pediatric care in military hospitals; and (2) difference in the services' provision of emergency care.

GAO found that: (1) emergency pediatric patients accounted for about one-third of all emergency patient visits; (2) all eight facilities reviewed had designated pediatricians available to the emergency room for consultation on an as-needed basis; (3) seven of the facilities reviewed records of emergency room pediatric patients to ensure proper care, as part of their quality assurance programs; (4) the one hospital that did not have pediatricians review emergency medical records had a physician review all emergency room records; (5) although a 1986 directive required the services to develop protocols to address differences in treatment corresponding to patient age, the hospitals were still waiting for guidance from the services' headquarters before implementing the directive; (6) all the hospitals had some written pediatric procedures; (7) most of the facilities either had the required medical equipment necessary for emergency pediatric care or would transfer any serious pediatric emergency to another facility; and (8) the services stated that, although not all of their emergency rooms had the equipment to meet all possible emergencies, each facility had the equipment to resuscitate or stabilize patients, but the availability of other equipment depended on the types of problems that had historically occurred at that hospital.

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