The American College of Emergency Physicians is looking to protect emergency-room patients from blame for high healthcare costs in the U.S., targeting reports on ER use coming out of Massachusetts (PDF) and South Carolina.
Don't blame ER patients for healthcare costs: ACEP
In a news release, ACEP took issue with the idea that use of the ER should be a major focus in containing healthcare costs and disputed some statements contained in A Report On Frequent Users Of Hospital Emergency Departments in South Carolina, produced by the South Carolina Public Health Institute in February.
"We are disturbed by reports coming from Massachusetts and South Carolina that suggest emergency patients are responsible for the high cost of healthcare," said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the ACEP, in the release. "Emergency care amounts to only 3% of all the healthcare spending each year in the U.S."
In response, the South Carolina institute issued rebuttals to the ACEP's assertions and explained the report's goal. “The theme of our report on frequent users of hospital emergency department is that frequent use of the ED is a result of unmanaged illness and a lack of a medical home,” institute director Lee Pearson said in a statement. "People turn to the (emergency room) when other options are not available, and this is true of people with and without insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare and private coverage." Individuals who have private insurance make up the "largest and fastest-growing group" of emergency-room users, he said.
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