Emergency Room Visits

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The number of emergency room visits has been on the rise for the past 15 years but are all of them necessary? Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study by the Centers for Disease Control that looked at ER visits in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Americans have been going to emergency rooms for treatment in increasing numbers since 1996, with poor and uninsured people more likely to seek treatment than others.

The increase in emergency room visits has come at a time when the number of ERs has decreased, causing overcrowding, longer wait times and rising health care costs, according to the Center for Disease Controls National Center for Health Statistics.

The report found that:

One in five people had one or more emergency room visits over a 12-month period in 2007.

Among adults 18 to 44 the uninsured were more likely than those with private insurance to have at least one ER visit.

In 2007, 10 percent of ER visits by people under age 65 were considered nonurgent.

The numbers show a strong correlation between income levels and a tendency to seek treatment in emergency departments. Such use is costly for hospitals, causes an individuals costs to to rise and increases premiums for health insurance.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.