Emergency room visits rose 20% over the past decade, fueled by population growth and an increase in older adults, even as the number of ERs in the U.S. dropped about 15%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. ER visits reached 107.5 million in 2001, compared with 90 million in 1992, according to the CDC's National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Visits per 100 people also rose but less steeply -- to 38.4 visits per 100 people in 2001 from 35.7 visits per 100 in 1992, an 8% increase, the CDC said. Injury and poisoning were the leading causes. Adverse medical events accounted for 1.4 million visits. Patients spent an average of three hours in the ER per visit; however, the length of visits varied by hospital size and geographic region. Read the report.-- by Julie Piotrowski
ER visits climbed in '90s as total ERs shrank: CDC
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