The Us of Emergency Room as a Primary Care Provider

1047 Words Sep 20th, 2008 5 Pages
The Use of Emergency Room as a Primary Care Provider
There are Emergency rooms all over the United States that are being utilized as primary care provider., by patients covered by private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare as well as the uninsured.(Baker, August 13, 2008) Some patients call their primary care provider and are told, they cannot be worked in for several days or weeks. The option given is to go to the Emergency room for treatment. Other reasons are people who do not have a primary care provider or insurance. Primary care providers do not want to take new patients without insurance, so their only choice is to go the emergency room for treatment. Another factor driving Emergency Room volume trends are physicians who send
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The average time spent in a emergency room for a non urgent reason is 2.6 hours.(National Health statistics Reports, Number 7, August 6, 2008, 2008, p. 36) Non urgent emergency visits crowds the emergency rooms and makes it difficult for true emergencies when they come in. I also feel that primary care providers and the nurse call centers should to be educated on when and how to use the emergency room. The non urgent visits could be directed to urgent care clinics instead of emergency rooms and I feel that if physicians would encourage this, more insured patients would use the urgent care clinics. On the other hand, if it is a uninsured patient, their choice would be to come to the emergency room due to urgent care clinics requiring payment up front where as the emergency rooms bills patient. I feel that this has put our health care system in the place it is in today. If emergency rooms required payment up front, more of the non urgent visits would be stopped and the cost of health care would start to decrease. I also feel that emergency rooms should be able to direct patients to urgent care clinics and first assist , this would also help bring the cost down for the health care system. There is going to have to be dramatic changes to the healthcare delivery system in order for hospitals to functions within a operational margin.

References
Baker, C. (2008 August). Some Surprises On Emergency Room Use. Retrieved
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