Should emergency departments handle more urgent care cases?

Many emergency departments are expanding to incorporate “fast-track” patients, meaning those who present with less emergent symptoms.

As this emergency doctor puts it, hospitals like these quick cases, “by turning a 99203 into a 99283 plus a several hundred dollar facility fee, level three patients are easy money for ERs which are already open anyway.”

This type of cost-shifting simply games the current system, which pays several hundred dollars to treat a cold, for instance.

But again, that’s just the playing field that the government has given the hospitals. Perhaps someone should be looking at fixing the rules, rather than blaming the players.

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