An analysis of the RightCare policy at Ben Taub General Hospital, Houston, Texas

Janelle Rios, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Introduction. This study is a two-part evaluation of the RightCare policy, a policy implemented to reduce crowding at the Emergency Center (EC) at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, Harris County, Texas. This research includes an evaluation of the policy's impact on specific hospital measures, along with a description of the policy's demise from the point of view of hospital staff. Objective. The purpose of this study is two-fold: (1) To determine whether RightCare policy affected the level of crowding in the Emergency Center and (2) to identify the conditions that may have led to the policy's demise. Methods. For the policy impact portion of this research, hospital measures were collected from existing databases. Analysis included a pre-post comparative design in which the 12 months preceding the policy's implementation were compared with the 12 months following the policy's implementation. For the policy perception portion, employees were surveyed using an on-line questionnaire. Results. The results of the study are mixed. Some measures improved, including time spent on ambulance diversion and the proportion of those who left without being seen, while others did not, such as return visits and total length of stay. Employees generally supported the policy, but expressed concerns over insufficient training and funding. Conclusion. The RightCare policy was a good initial attempt to improve crowded conditions in the EC. The study showed that a clearer policy design, improved training, adequate staffing levels, and better communication would improve operational outcomes in the future.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Rios, Janelle, "An analysis of the RightCare policy at Ben Taub General Hospital, Houston, Texas" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3366678.