The uninsured accounted for nearly one-fifth of hospital emergency department visits in 2006, according to HHS. Low-income patients made up one-third of total ER visits and residents of rural areas accounted for one-fifth of total visits.
Uninsured account for nearly one-fifth of ER visits: HHS
The department analyzed data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, managed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The sample contains 26 million records from 1,000 community hospitals nationwide, representing 20% of total ER visits in 2006. There were about 120 million ER visits nationwide in 2006.
“Our healthcare system has forced too many uninsured, rural and low-income Americans to depend on the emergency room for the care they need,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a written statement, adding that healthcare reform should help “prevent illnesses from turning into emergencies.”
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