Why ER Visits for Non-Emergencies Aren’t Going Away – WSJ

I’ve said it many times, patients (and family members) are not consumers when health care is the issue. The experts insist that if only patients paid more of the cost of health care, they would be more prudent with their spending. These experts in economics need to take a few courses in human behavior and psychology.  It’s not the patient that needs to change, it’s the health care delivery system.

Here is another interesting take on the subject:

Lim­ited ac­cess has been a con­stant story line during my 35 years in emergency med­i­cine. Pa­tients are vul­ner­a­ble—they get hurt; they are old; they are young; they are weak; they are bleed­ing; they have col­lapsed. Healthcare econ­o­mists, ad­min­istra­tors and process managers opine that pa­tients with­out “true emer­gencies” should be di­rected to fam­ily doctors, ur­gent-care cen­ters and out­patient clin­ics. Pa­tients are chas­tised for “un­need­essary” vis­its that can cost thou­sands of dol­lars. That might sound rea­son­able but ig­nores what pa­tients ex­pe­ri­ence and per­ceive. Re­mem­ber: You can’t teach pa­tients economics lessons when they don’t feel well…

For a patient, an emergency is when he or she doesn’t feel well, or for a caregiver who is responsible for someone who seems like he’s really in trouble. It’s when you don’t know what’s wrong, and you need reassurance. When that happens, you’re not thinking about finances. You don’t care how much it costs or who pays the bill.

Source: Why ER Visits for Non-Emergencies Aren’t Going Away – WSJ


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