Tennessee emergency rooms saw nearly 2.9 million patients in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2003, a 4.1% increase compared with the year-earlier period and a 34.6% increase over the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000, according to the Tennessee Hospital Association. Indigent and self-pay patients showed the biggest increase in the most recent fiscal year at 20.1%, but patients in the state's Medicaid program, known as TennCare, posted the biggest increase over the three-year period, with 49.1% more emergency visits. Craig Becker, president and CEO of the hospital association, said in a news release that the reason TennCare patients are flocking to emergency rooms is not enough physicians are willing to treat them because of low reimbursements. In general, Becker said, patients are frequenting emergency rooms too often with conditions that could be treated in physician offices. -- by Vince Galloro
Tenn. ERs see increase in poor patients
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