25 facts and statistics on emergency departments in the US

Here are 25 things to know about hospital emergency departments across the country.

1. Number of ED visits in the United States annually: 136.3 million1

2. Number of injury-related ED visits annually: 40.2 million

3. Number of ED visits resulting in a hospital admission annually: 16.2 million

4. Number of ED visits that result in admission to critical care each year: 2.1 million

5. Percentage of patients seen within fewer than 15 minutes in the ED: 27 percent

6. Average time spent waiting in the ED before seeing a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant: 24 minutes2

7. Average time spent in the ED before being sent home: 135 minutes

8. Average time patients with broken bones wait for pain medication after arriving in the ED: 54 minutes

9. Average time patients admitted to the hospital from the ED spend before being taken to their room: 96 minutes

10. In the U.S. overall, there are 42 ED visits per 100 persons.3

11. The emergency department visits per 100 persons in the top five most populous states are:

• California: 38
• Florida: 44
• Illinois: 41
• New York: 37
• Texas: 49

12. Nationwide ED visits by age group:

• Under 18 years old: 21 percent
• 18 years old to 64 years old: 63 percent
• 65 years and older: 16 percent

13. ED visits that result in admissions to the same hospitals: 11 percent

14. Percentage of visits made to EDs in metropolitan areas nationwide: 85 percent

15. Percentage of ED visits to high-volume metropolitan areas (50,000 annual visits or more): 43 percent

16. Nationwide ED visits by insurance:

• Private insurance as the expected payment source: 29 percent
• Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program: 35 percent
• Medicare: 18 percent
• No insurance: 14 percent
• Unknown insurance: 13 percent

17. Percentage of emergency physicians considering leaving medicine due to reductions in emergency care reimbursement: 34 percent4

18. Percentage of emergency physicians report their community or state is making efforts to reduce emergency patient visits: 38 percent

19. The concerns emergency physicians have about efforts to reduce emergency visits:

• Patients might go to a less skilled site even though they have medical emergencies: 44 percent
• It won't reduce patient volume: 44 percent
• Healthcare spending won't be reduced: 41 percent
• Patients might not get the care they need: 38 percent

20. How eliminating federal subsidies could affect ED visits based on the American College of Emergency Physicians "2015 ACEP Poll Affordable Care Act Research Results" survey respondents' estimation:

• ED visits would increase: 42 percent
• ED visits would stay the same: 31 percent
• ED visits would decrease: 10 percent
• ED would be at risk of closing: 2 percent
• Not sure: 16 percent

21. The ACA requirement for health coverage took effect Jan. 1, 2014; here is how volume changed between then and March 2015, according to emergency medicine physicians:

• Greatly increased: 28 percent
• Slightly increased: 47 percent
• Remained the same: 17 percent
• Slightly decreased: 5 percent
• Greatly decreased: 0 percent
• Not sure: 3 percent

22. The number of Medicaid patients in the ED since Jan. 1, 2014:

• Greatly increased: 24 percent
• Slightly increased: 32 percent
• Remained the same: 19 percent
• Slightly decreased: 1 percent
• Greatly decreased: 0 percent
• Not sure: 24 percent

23. Acuity of ED patients' illness or injuries since Jan. 1, 2014:

• Greatly increased: 14 percent
• Slightly increased: 30 percent
• Remained the same: 42 percent
• Slightly decreased: 10 percent
• Greatly decreased: 2 percent
• Not sure: 3 percent

24. The volume of less severe illnesses in the ED changed due to urgent care centers:

• Greatly increased: 7 percent
• Slightly increased: 16 percent
• Remained the same: 43 percent
• Slightly decreased: 17 percent
• Greatly decreased: 5 percent
• Not sure: 11 percent

25. The five hospitals with the most ED visits are5:

• Florida Hospital Orlando
• Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Medical Center
• Yale-New Have (Conn.) Hospital
• Genesys Regional Medical Center (Grand Blanc, Mich.)
• Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital (Houston)

 

References

1. Data for points 1 to 5 are from the CDC "National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2011 Emergency Department Summary Tables 1, 4, 14, 24." http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm

2. Data for points 6 to 9 is from ProPublica's "ER Wait Watcher" updated May 27, 2015.
https://projects.propublica.org/emergency/

3. Data for points 10 to 16 is based on the CDC "Emergency Department Use in the Country's Five Most Populous States and the Total United States, 2012" released in June 2016.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db252.pdf

4. Data for points 17 to 24 is from the American College of Emergency Physicians "2015 ACEP Poll Affordable Care Act Research Results" released in March 2015.
https://www.scribd.com/document/264530627/2015-ACEP-Poll-Affordable-Care-Act-Research-Results

5. Data for point 25 is from Becker's Hospital Review "50 hospitals with the most ED visits 2016" http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/50-hospitals-with-the-most-er-visits-2016.html

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