In America, there is an overuse of our emergency rooms for the purpose of non-urgent care. To many, this is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. The abuse of the system is costing those who have insurance a raise in their premiums.
The Main Issues
Almost 35-percent of Americans end up going to the emergency room when they are ill or in need of medical care. Oftentimes, they visit the ER when they are not having an emergency. This fact was found through data gathered from across the country in 2016. When this data was compared to older sets of data, it was found that this was a trend that has been going on for many years. Florida happens to be about the same as the national average with unnecessary emergency room visits.
What ER Doctors Think About This Trend
Many emergency room doctors, such as Dr. Eric Forsthoefel, explained recently why he feels this is such an issue. He truly believes the issue comes from the lack of access most people have to primary care physicians. He stated that as an emergency room doctor, it is still important to treat all patients with a high paramount of care, whether or not they truly have an emergency medical issue. Each patient that comes to an emergency room will get thoroughly checked out by nurses, doctors and other staff.
The increase in non-urgent visits to ERs across the country means there is always a stretch in resources. This creates a challenge in hospitals everywhere to have to figure out the best way to manage the severity of each patient that comes in. These issues make it difficult for all staff working in emergency departments, not just the doctors.
Why People Go To The ER For Non-Urgent Care
Through a lot of research studies, it was concluded that most people go to the emergency room for care when not having an emergency medical issues because their primary care doctors usually have a wait of more than 24-48 hours. Most people want to get their issues addressed soon rather than later. It was also concluded from the research that these statistics were the same no matter the race, income or ethnicity of the patients. There was also a good mix of patients with and without insurance found in the research data.
Patients Seeing Raise In ER Costs
Many experts have suggested adding higher deductibles and co-pays in order to stop patients from using the ER for non-urgent situations. However, there are some other concerns with doing this that would need to be addressed. The main issue, however, is that it would mostly affect those in lower-income brackets.
- Dr. Eric Forsthoefel has been an emergency room doctor for more than six years. He graduated from Louisiana State in 2012.