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With limited options, one in three people visit the ER every two years

Written by Diane Archer

A recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, Harvard School of Public Health poll reveals that one in three people in this country visited the ER in the last two years. And, it’s often not because they have an emergency. It’s rather because we don’t offer them a viable alternative.

Almost half of all patients who received emergency care say they did not do so because they had an emergency. People often choose the ER because they can’t find a doctor to see, and it’s a convenient solution. Either they can’t schedule an appointment quickly enough. Or, the medical facility they use is not open when they need it.

For the most part, hospital emergency rooms are generally set up to treat emergencies, not routine care. Many people who end up in the ER report low satisfaction with both the cost and quality of their care. Long waits for treatment are the norm.

Why shouldn’t hospitals be able to treat all comers in a satisfactory way and at a reasonable cost?

Here’s some advice about hospital care from Just Care:

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1 Comment

  • I don’t know of any doctor who keeps office hours after five o’clock in the afternoon. That does create a problem when something comes up that needs immediate attention. There are some urgent care clinics opening up for relatively minor events that don’t need full hospital facilities, but even those aren’t open at three in the morning. That leaves only the ER for truly emergent problems that need to be treated ASAP.

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