Emergency department visits rose to an all-time high in 2003, 113.9 million annually, up 26% from the number recorded in 1993, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report. The number of emergency departments in the U.S. decreased by 12.3% over the same period. Adults, especially seniors, drove the trend, with emergency rooms reporting a 26% increase in patients 65 years and older. Approximately 14% of ER visits resulted in a hospital admission in 2003. On average, patients spent 3.2 hours in the emergency department and waited 46.5 minutes to see a doctor. Read the CDC report. -- by Cinda Becker
ER visits up 26% since 1993, as 12.3% of ERs closed
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