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August 17, 2010

Emergency Visit Rates Skyrocket in US

Emergency visit rates increased at twice the rate of population growth in the US between 1997 and 2007, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study authors also note that in 2007, nearly two-thirds of emergency departments were classified

By cms admin

Emergency visit rates increased at twice the rate of population growth in the US between 1997 and 2007, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study authors also note that in 2007, nearly two-thirds of emergency departments were classified as safety net hospitals, nearly double the number in 1997.

Safety net hospitals are defined as providing a disproportionate share of services to Medicaid and uninsured patients.

The study found that Medicaid patients accounted for a large proportion of the increase in emergency visit rates.

Dr Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said that because Medicaid pays poorly in many states, many physicians limit the number of Medicaid patients, causing them to visit the emergency department when the disease has worsened.

The study authors acknowledge that the future results will be affected due to significant changes that have occurred in the US since 2007.

Factors such as severe recession, record job losses, more people becoming uninsured, and enrolment in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program will affect the future results.

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