ER Docs are Key to Reducing Health Care Costs

Emergency physicians are key decision makers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, highlighting a critical role they can play in reducing health care costs, according to a report from the RAND Corporation. Lack of access to follow-up care is a top concern that influences the decision of emergency physicians to admit particularly fragile patients to the hospital, rather than take a chance that they will fall through the cracks and suffer harm.

Efforts to reduce non-urgent and non-emergency use of emergency departments oversimplify a complex problem, and should instead focus on increasing access to affordable options outside the emergency room. Efforts to shift care into other facilities, such as retail clinics, have not always been successful because of the limitations of these facilities. For example, retail clinics lack diagnostic testing, are unable to admit patients to the hospital, and won’t see uninsured patients who can’t pay cash. For full copy of the report, go to www.rand.org

Last Updated 11/25/2020

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