Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it was considered to decrease the utilization of emergency departments as recently insured Americans selected primary care physicians. But ERs are on the top rise than ever.
According to an article for Hospital & Health Networks, Ian Morrison (healthcare futurist), Ph.D., analyzes the emerging trends in emergency care--particularly the ER use at a new California hospital, as well as the quick growth of urgent care centers and free-standing ERs.
Morrison sits on the board of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, the 131-bed acute care hospital in the region of Southern California that was launched in the year of 2015. A 21-bed ER is reflected by this hospital, which has logged 70,000 visits since it has opened its doors. Morrison asserts that the primary reason for the influx of sufferers is because the community hospital is situated in a region that had restricted access to primary and specialty care.
Numerous organizations have opened urgent care centers in order to keep patients out of EDs. Most are open late and cost a third of what the visit would charge in an ED. Waiting times are normally shorter.
Another department is getting rise these days i.e. Free-standing ERs. The recent statistics shows that there are more than 500 of these stand-alone facilities in the country and industry professionals project there could soon be as many as 2,000.
These facilities are open 24/7. They generally charge standard ER rates and more sophisticated diagnostic equipment is provided by them in contrast to urgent care centers, like X-ray machines, CT scanners and labs. But they are mostly situated in affluent communities, which have a major percentage of sufferers with private insurance.
“I consider that we should be very careful that freestanding EDs don’t become a metaphor for the health system more broadly,” Morrison contends.