All NEW Investors: Your gift matched $ for $ this week! GIVE NOW

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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.