Monday, July 2, 2007

Talk about misleading!

A friend of mine pointed out this article about the rising numbers of ER visits.

The quote that caught her attention was this one:

The survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found most people who visited emergency rooms had private health insurance, although the uninsured were twice as likely to use emergency services as people with insurance.
That didn't make sense to me. How can most people that visit the ER have insurance, yet the uninsured are twice as likely to use the ER?

So I looked up the actual report put out by the CDC.

There's a few things that Ms. Maggie Fox at Yahoo!News neglected to mention. She said that

The report found that 46 million of the visits made to ERs in 2005 were by people with insurance, compared to 19 million by people without insurance.

She neglected to mention that there were 19 million visits made by people on Medicare, and nearly 29 million visits by people on Medicaid.

With reimbursement rates being what they are, I think that those 50 million people might impact the uninsured/insured issue just a bit.

The article says,
"People with no insurance are twice as likely to use the emergency
department as the privately insured."

But according to the statistics, people with private insurance use the ER for 6.6% of their visits and primary care docs for 53.4%, while uninsured people use the ER for 27.8% of their visits and primary care docs for 33.6% . That means that percentage wise, uninsured people are actually four times more likely to use the ER than insured people, and they are nearly as likely to go to the ER as a primary care doc.

There's a lot of statistics that you can cherry-pick to your heart's content. But the underlying message is quite disturbing.


Loving Annie said...

Good Monday morning Monkeygirl,
Very disturbing. It's why hospitals are closing right and left, and there doesn't look like there is much hope in sight.
You can't operate a hospital on hope and willingness. You have to get paid.

twinsx2 said...

But if you have no insurance,like me, you will find that many primary care physicians won't see you. Or they want way too much money up front.($500.00) I am a caregiver (mom and wife) to a disabled husband and 4 disabled kids. How did I end up here, as a caregiver, just lucky I guess. However, I do not use the ER. maybe because in a previous life I had insurance and I understand how it works.

I am also lucky in that my children have doctors who will help me out occasionally for free. If I take them in for strep throat, the ped will give me a RX as well. My daughter has a friend whose dad is an ER doc and he will examine me and tell me if I can wait or if I need to take care of something.

But, someday, hopefully someone will see past my family situation and hire me. And under HIPAA I don't want to seek treatment and end up with a "pre-existing" condition for 18 months or so. So, nothing goes on "my permanent record"

But, the ER has to treat you with no money down. And for some people that's the only choice they have. It's just crazy.

mielikki said...

see, its posts like this one that MADE me nominate you as a thinking blogger. Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah. Nobody *ever* figures in the incredibly low medicaid/care reimbursements into these studies.

Babs RN said...

In response to twinsx2, the "no money down" concept is slowly beginning to change if it's a nonurgent condition.

Some facilities are beginning to require at least a deposit/copay for treatment IF the Medical Screening Exam determines there is not an urgent/emergent condition present and IF you're uninsured or have a copay.

That has inherent problems and hurdles of its own, but its intent is to remain compliant with EMTALA and at the same time NOT go under.