Big surprise – ER visits reach a record high

“At a time when the number of hospital emergency departments has been cut by 14 percent, visits to the ER reached a record high of nearly 114 million, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for 2003, the most recent data available . . .

. . . Many of the ER visits were made by elderly Americans or the uninsured.

ER visits by Americans over age 65 jumped 26 percent in 2003, and Medicaid patients were four times more likely to seek treatment in an ER than people with private insurance.”

We have discussed this ad nauseum here. Again, the culprits are lack of primary care medicine, the “convenience” factor of “instant” treatment, as well as the rise of defensive medicine (better to send everyone to the ER than to risk a lawsuit by treating people over the phone).

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