About 48% of "emergent" patients who needed emergency medical care in 2006 saw an emergency department physician within 14 minutes of arriving at the hospital, compared with 59% in 1997, according to data on more than 540 million hospital ED visits. The likelihood of being seen for "urgent" patients requiring care in 15 to 60 minutes dropped from 84% in 1997 to 76% in 2006.

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