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Hospitals Offering Reservations For ER Visits

BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Whether they are sick or hurt, no one like waiting for hours and hours to see a doctor at a hospital's emergency room.

Now one healthcare provider is trying to change that – for a price.

Nine Tenet hospitals in South Florida, including North Shore Medical Center and Hialeah Hospital are offering emergency room patients the opportunity to reserve an appointment online for a fee.

For $9.99 patients with non-life-threatening conditions can make a reservation at or on the hospitals' websites. Tenet guarantees patients will get their money back if they are not seen by a health care professional within 15 minutes of the appointment time.

Surveys indicate the average wait time is four hours in a U.S. emergency room. The hospitals participating in the online system believe patients are likely to prefer paying a fee to guarantee quick entrance.

Some doctors have raised concerns that patients experiencing a true emergency might delay treatment, preferring to wait for a reservation.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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