Mar 31

The ER has been thought to be a waste of finances, however the opposite is true. Listen in for more details on why.

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2 Responses to “Emergency Room Visits Only Account For 3% Of American Health Care Money”

  1. 1. enliteneer Says:

    Money is certainly one metric by which to judge this, but theres at least another…

    **IF** medical care were an unlimited resource, then people should throw caution to the wind, and use it just because their healthcare/taxpayer will pick up the tab… Since it is limited, having an emergency room full of people that are there to play it safe, are taking away services / time from those that truly need it.

    I wasn’t able to find recent data on the average emergency care waiting time… but according to 2006 data, it was over an hour. I can’t imagine it’s better today..

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr007.pdf

  2. 2. Dr Jim Says:

    It is true that ideally a doctor or other allied health professional would be available to everyone during all hours of the day to filter through who needs immediate medical attention and who does not.

    I live and work in a community that is educated and mostly insured. They tend to use all the resources available before coming to the ER. And it is the wait you mentioned, closer to 4 hours on average in the US, that motivates the careful planning. Many hospitals are learning to game the system on wait times. Put a doctor in the reception window and your wait time becomes almost zero. But did you really go through the system faster? That’s why length-of-stay is another important number to know.

    But I stand by the fact, if you are looking to save the financially failed American Health Care system by limiting access or payments to the emergency department, you are barking up the wrong tree. If you could drop emergency utilization by 30%, you’d save the health system 1%. And if you discourage timely access, I believe the cost on the back-end would go up. Even in our educated population, my partners and I regularly recognize disease in early stages that would have cost much more to treat if the patient waited until the following day to be seen in the office. Of course, if the person dies waiting, that’s the most cost effective, but clearly not the goal. And that is where the difficulty lies. What is the best value for our limited resources.

    I agree with your original statement… money is not the only measure to judge value.

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