Will health reform help ER crowding?

Ashley Milne-Tyte Oct 5, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Will health reform help ER crowding?

Ashley Milne-Tyte Oct 5, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Today starts the annual conference of ER doctors. And the American College of Emergency Physicians has a lot to talk about. One of the main topics under the microscope, of course, will be health-care reform and how it could affect emergency rooms. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: We hear a lot about the uninsured using emergency rooms for routine care. Dr. Angela Gardner says that’s a myth. She’s president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. She says the vast majority of people who come to the ER need urgent care that regular doctors can’t provide. Cutting the number of people in the ER is not the answer to cutting costs as she says some lawmakers think.

Dr. Angela Gardner: The truth is all of emergency-care spending in America is only 3 percent of the total yearly health-care spending.

She says the overcrowding in the emergency room is really a symptom of something else. Hospitals don’t have enough beds to accommodate ER patients needing follow-up care and processing takes too long. She says although affordable coverage is necessary, it won’t solve the crowding.

Since Massachusetts adopted universal health care, trips to the emergency room are up seven percent.

I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

There’s a LOT to celebrate!

It’s National Pumpkin Spice Day, the last day of our fall fundraiser, and thousands of fans like you have invested in Marketplace.

You inspire us, and your support makes us stronger, especially now.