Tag: "emergency room"

A Market is Emerging for ER Care

Convenience

Medical entrepreneurs are remaking the emergency room experience. They’re pulling the emergency room out of the hospital and planting it in the strip mall.

It’s called a “free-standing ER,” and some 400 of them opened across the country in the past four years.

Amenities

The waiting room, furnished with brown leather armchairs and a coffee station worthy of a spa, is empty because patients are usually seen right away.

Expense

Free-standing ERs can make a lot of money because they charge ER prices. A visit that might have cost $200 at an urgent-care center can cost four or five times as much at an ER.

Source:Kaiser Health News.

Dealing with the Devil

Liberty Hospital near Kansas City, Mo., has eliminated 120 jobs this year, closed its wound-care clinic, and stopped offering free rides to poor and elderly patients. The Cleveland Clinic is searching for ways to cut $250 million from its $6 billion budget in the next 16 months. It’s already closed expensive maternity wards in half the hospitals it operates. In northern New York, Adirondack Health may shutter its emergency room in Lake Placid and a dialysis center in Tupper Lake. All of these hospitals and scores of others nationwide are squeezing services to make up for unexpected budget shortfalls — the result of a deal they made with the federal government that they’re now having second thoughts about. (Bloomberg)

ER vs. Doctor’s Office, and Other Links

The Market for Pain Relief

Maybe This is Why You Have to Wait So Long

The emergency department would seem, at first glance, to be one of the more bustling spaces in medicine. With multiple patients in critical condition, it seems like it would be hard for doctors and other health providers to find a spare minute.

Except it’s apparently not that hard at all: A new study (flagged by Michael Ramlet of The Morning Consult) finds that for every hour emergency department workers use a computer, they spend an average of 12 minutes on Facebook — and that time on the site actually goes up as the department becomes busier.

From Sarah Kliff.

ER: The Gateway to Hospitalization

A RAND Health study found that hospital emergency rooms are now the point of access for nearly half of all hospital admissions in the U.S. and account for almost all of the growth in admissions between 2003 and 2009. During that time, hospital admissions grew only 4% — not even keeping pace with population growth. But ER-related admissions jumped 17%. (ModernPhysician.com)

Why this is important: about half of the newly insured under ObamaCare will get insured by Medicaid, and Medicaid patients use the emergency room twice as often as privately insured patients. Also, hospitals are buying doctors, who will be pressured to admit patients once they get to the emergency room.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

So How Well Do Hospital Employees Take Care of Themselves?

The study conducted by Truven Health Analytics, formerly an affiliate of Thomson Reuters, examined the relative health of about 350,000 employees at 200 hospitals nationwide. They were compared against the health of 12 million workers in other sectors. The results were sobering: Healthcare spending for hospital employees was 9 percent higher than in other job sectors. Hospital employees also had higher emergency room utilization rates and were 5 percent more likely than other workers to wind up hospitalized themselves. That’s despite the fact they are on average two years younger than workers in other sectors.

Source: FierceHealthFinance.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

NYT Finds Privatized Health Care It Likes

It’s efficient

Emergency room use has been reduced by 50 percent, hospital admissions by 53 percent, specialty care visits by 65 percent and visits to primary care doctors by 36 percent.

It’s high quality

Patients are virtually guaranteed a doctor’s appointment on the day they request it, and their calls are answered quickly, usually within 30 seconds. The percentage of children receiving high-quality care for asthma has soared from 35 percent to 85 percent, the percentage of infants receiving needed immunizations by age 2 has risen above 90 percent, the percentage of diabetics with blood sugar under control ranks in the top 10 percentile of a standard national benchmark, and customer and employee satisfaction rates top 90 percent.

It’s definitely not following ObamaCare guidelines

Southcentral has unique attributes (it even refers cases to traditional tribal healers if doctors agree).

Full editorial on Alaska’s successful health care system.