It has been noticed that since the recession hit the US in 2008 more people, both with and without health insurance, have been evaluated in hospital emergency departments (ED). At the same time that emergency room visits increased, visits to primary care physicians decreased. It is believed that physician office visit rates are down partly due to insured patients having to pay more money for coverage, higher deductibles, and more for prescription medicines. Many patients tend to put off routine care, chronic disease management and office visits because of the increasing costs. The general belief is that in good economic times, patients are more able to afford primary care and preventative medicine so there are fewer patients visiting the emergency rooms for treatment. Lately, patients with chronic conditions who are unable to afford primary care office visits or their prescriptions wind up in an emergency room with acute conditions that require hospitalization.
The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows a steep rise in emergency room visits. In 2009, emergency room visits increased to 136 million, over and above the 124 million just a year prior. Of those 136 million, 19 percent were uninsured and 39 percent were insured. A poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Room Physicians (ACEP) in March of 2011 showed that 80 percent of emergency room physicians that responded to the poll said that patient volume in their ER had increased "somewhat" or "significantly" within the past year.
It is believed by some that when health care reform kicks in, the increase in newly insured patients will further increase the amount of patients seen in emergency rooms because there will not be enough time for primary care physicians to see all of their insured patients when need be. Nearly 90 percent of respondents to the ACEP poll feel that health system reform will increase emergency room volumes.
Emergency room over crowding is a reality and it appears that it may only get worse in the coming years. Is your emergency room capable of handling the increase in patient visits?
Unfortunately, many ER's are unable to properly handle the volume they currently have and it leads to a delays in patient care, patient falls, delays in diagnosing, medical mistakes, drug errors or even death. Here at the nationally known Beasley emergency room medical malpractice law firm, we have represented many patients who were injured, misdiagnosed or died in an emergency room due to negligent care by a nurse or an emergency room physician. Our specialized emergency room error team consists of doctors and certified emergency room nurses who are well aware of proper emergency room policies and protocols that must be followed. If you or a loved one was further injured while in an emergency department or suffered due to a delay in diagnosing a medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, doctors or emergency room nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a confidential and free consultation. To date, we have over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients. We were there for them when they needed us and we are here for you now.