10 Statistics on Hospital Admissions From the ED

By 2009, inpatient admissions from the emergency department accounted for approximately half of all hospital admissions excluding live births, according to a Rand Corp. research report, "The Evolving Role of Emergency Departments in the United States."

In 2009, about half of all hospital admissions came from the ED.Rand Health, a division of Rand Corp., researched ED use through a review of recent literature, analysis of four HHS datasets and the Community Tracking Study, three focus groups with emergency medicine and hospitalist physicians and interviews with 16 primary care physicians. Here are 10 key findings from the study:

•    From 2003 to 2009, hospital inpatient admissions grew 4 percent, which was slower than the rate of population growth. However, the growth in inpatient admissions is nearly all due to a 17 percent in increase in unscheduled inpatient admissions from EDs.

•    From 2003 to 2009, inpatient admissions from physicians' offices decreased 10 percent.

•    In 2009, the majority of inpatient admissions from EDs were patients covered by Medicare compared with other payors.

•    In 2009, 73 percent of uninsured patient admissions were admitted from the ED.

•    Medicare beneficiaries are 3.4 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital at the end of an ED visit than privately insured patients.

•    The likelihood of hospital admission from an ED did not vary significantly between patients covered by a plan with care coordination (such as Medicare Choice) and patients covered by a plan without care coordination, such as Medicare fee-for-service.

•    From 2000 to 2009, the rate of inpatient admissions from the ED for patients with "potentially preventable admissions" remained stable.

•    In 2003, among patients whose last ED visit was for a health problem other than an accident or injury, 58 percent said they were unable to contact their physician or another health professional before they sought care in an ED. However, only 15 percent made an attempt to contact their physician before seeking care in an ED.

•    In 2003, only 12 percent of patients who did not attempt to contact their physician before seeking care in an ED were aware of other places they could have gone for care.

•    In 2003, four out of five patients who contacted a healthcare professional before seeking care in an ED were advised to go to an ED.

More Articles on ED Utilization:

Report: ED Physicians Key to Reducing Healthcare Costs
Study: ICU Admissions From ED Increased Nearly 50%

Medicare Patients' Severity of Illness, ED Use Increased 2006-2010

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