80% of ED Physicians Report Increase in Patient Visits

In a recent survey, 80 percent of emergency physicians said ED visits are increasing and 89 percent said ED visits are likely to increase as healthcare reforms are implemented, according to an American College of Emergency Physicians news release.

ACEP conducted the poll from March 3-11, 2011. The findings are based on responses from 1,768 emergency physicians. Here are more key findings from the poll:

• Of the 89 percent who feel ED visits will increase with healthcare reform, 54 percent of emergency physicians expect to see significant increases.

• Nearly all — 97 percent — of emergency physicians reported treating patients on a daily basis who were referred to them by primary care physicians. The same number also reported treating Medicaid patients on a daily basis who could not find any other physician to accept their health insurance.

• Physicians attribute the overall increase in emergency patients to patients without health coverage (28 percent) and a growing elderly population (23 percent).

• Forty-four percent of respondents said the fear of lawsuits was the largest challenge to cutting ED costs. More than half — 53 percent — said a fear of lawsuits is the reason for ordering the number of tests they do.

“This poll confirms what we are witnessing in Massachusetts — that visits to emergency rooms are going to increase across the country, despite healthcare reform, and that health insurance coverage does not guarantee access to medical care,” Sandra Schneider, MD, president of the ACEP said in the release.

Read the ACEP release on emergency room visits.

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