The Miami Patch recently published the article “The Impact of Non-Urgent Care on Florida Emergency Rooms” which indicates how the patients seeking care from emergency rooms are often not as urgent as people believe. The article, written by Amanda Moore, indicates that a large issue in the healthcare industry is that the physicians and nurses in the ERs are overwhelmed with patients who need a primary care physician, not the ER.
More than a third of Americans have admitted they have gone to the emergency room despite not having an urgent health concern. A variety of studies show this is a consistent trend beginning in the 1990’s. Today, many states have been overwhelmed by the use of emergency resources for non-urgent patients. Florida is similarly on par with non-urgent patients visiting emergency rooms to get care.
One emergency physician, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel, reveals that he has seen hundreds of people in the emergency room who should have made an appointment with their primary care physician. He explains that this becomes an issue in the healthcare system because the time of the physicians, nurses, and tech staff are going to people who have non-urgent issues. Every emergency room will treat a patient regardless of how urgent the issue is, however, it forces ERs to stretch their resources. It makes it incredibly difficult for staff and physicians to manage the patient flow between those who have critical medical crises that need immediate attention and those who simply have non-emergent conditions. However, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel reveals an understanding and sympathy for those non-urgent patients. He reveals that the current issues within the healthcare system create many barriers for people, causing a chronic inadequacy of access to primary care.
Many insurance companies are beginning to drop ER visits from their coverage. Physicians reveal this will cause many patients to die because they will be afraid of the cost of ongoing to the emergency room even when they have urgent health issues.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is a physician in Tallahassee, Florida. He graduated with his MD from the University of Louisville School of Medicine after completing his B.A. in religious studies at Florida State University.