Just Labradors banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,664 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
9 patients made nearly 2,700 ER visits in Texas
Yahoo! Bookmarks Print Wed Apr 1, 9:19 pm ET
AUSTIN, Texas – Just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others, according to a report. The patients went to hospital emergency rooms 2,678 times from 2003 through 2008, said the report from the nonprofit Integrated Care Collaboration, a group of health care providers who care for low-income and uninsured patients.

"What we're really trying to do is find out who's using our emergency rooms ... and find solutions," said Ann Kitchen, executive director of the group, which presented the report last week to the Travis County Healthcare District board.

The average emergency room visit costs $1,000. Hospitals and taxpayers paid the bill through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Kitchen said.

Eight of the nine patients have drug abuse problems, seven were diagnosed with mental health issues and three were homeless. Five are women whose average age is 40, and four are men whose average age is 50, the report said, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

"It's a pretty significant issue," said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, chief of the emergency department at University Medical Center at Brackenridge, which has the busiest ERs in the area.

Solutions include referring some frequent users to mental health programs or primary care doctors for future care, Ziebell said.

"They have a variety of complaints," he said. With mental illness, "a lot of anxiety manifests as chest pain."

That equates to 60 visits per year per person.

I can imagine that across the nation, there are thousands of ER's with similar repeat customers. It's unethical to deny anyone medical care, but how do you manage something like this? Whether there is nationalized healthcare or private healthcare, this is a problem. It's staggering to think of the cost nationwide, both in dollars and medical resources expended in treating these cases. Nothing could be worse than one of these "regulars" being ignored when they indeed have a condition that would require treatment. The boy who cried wolf and all.

I like the idea of urgency care clinics. Expansion and promotion of these clinics could certainly lessen the burden of the ER.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
I don't think the key is just to expand, it should also restrict.

If they don't already have to, they should require an ER co-pay for Medicare/Medicaid. They should also either repeal the EMTALA law or rewrite it or actually fund it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,211 Posts
I don't think the key is just to expand, it should also restrict.

If they don't already have to, they should require an ER co-pay for Medicare/Medicaid. They should also either repeal the EMTALA law or rewrite it or actually fund it.
That would hurt the people who truly need those programs and cannot afford the co-pays.

I do not have any answers, but I'd hate to see people not be able to get seen because they cannot afford the co-pays.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,307 Posts
So this implies that these 9 people made a trip to the ER every week for 6 years. Something is wrong here. Does not make sense to me. I can't see how 9 people could go to the ER that often. For what? Its just pure abuse on their part, or part of an even bigger fraud of people using false identification and claiming to be one of these 9 people but really a whole bunch of people that don't qualify for this care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,990 Posts
They are frequent flyers - part of their day to day is going to the ER. As it said in the article - much of this is mental illness and homelessness. There should be some other resource for people like this. Once they show up at the ER they have to be seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,130 Posts
I can't imagine wanting to go and sit there. But I don't have a mental illness either. So if you figure they are there for an average of 5 hours depending on the wait and "problem" They are at the hospital 12.5 days a year!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,114 Posts
I don't think you can fix it unless you're going to institutionalize people against their will. My brother would have been one of these 9. He was a homeless drug addict who heard voices, most of which seemed to tell him to steal things and head for the ER. He was a regular who just showed up once or twice a week for everything from headaches to anxiety attacks to needle infections. Most of these people aren't capable of making an appt. at a regular doctor, much less keeping it.

I think you just have to either accept that there are a small number of people in every community who will overuse the ER service, or pay to institutionalize them somewhere, and I have a hard time believing that will be any cheaper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,485 Posts
ER visits also should not cost $1000. I have had to visit the ER twice in the past 3 months due to accidents. The first time was to the hospital ER...they billed my insurance company for a little over $1000 for doing nothing but giving me a shot in the arse and looking at me for 10 minutes. It ended up actually costing me half of that due to the agreement the insurance co. has with the hospital. Hosp. charges are INSANE!!!

When I broke my elbow, I went to the neighborhood Urgent Care vs. the ER...only cost me $105 for xrays and having a cast put on....Ummmmmm what is wrong with this picture folks???

$1000 at the ER vs. $105 at Urgent Care.....I know this is a little off topic, but when I saw that comment in the article if struck a nerve in me.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top