Despite the rapid expansion in insurance coverage that may flow from healthcare reform efforts, most emergency-room physicians expect to see a significant increase in the number of ER patients as the reforms are implemented, according to survey results released today.
Physicians expect more ER visits after reform changes: survey
The Internet survey, conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians, found that 89% of emergency-medicine physicians believe ER visits will rise following the implementation of insurance reforms contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, despite the law's stated goal of broadly expanding access to primary care. And 54% of the doctors said they expected a "significant" increase in ER care following the law's implementation in the coming years.
"We must be prepared for increasing numbers of patients, not fewer, especially given our growing elderly population," said ACEP President Dr. Sandra Schneider in a news release about the results.
Schneider said emergency-department visits have increased at twice the rate of the U.S. population's growth and that two-thirds of all ER treatment takes place outside of normal business hours for primary-care doctors.
The survey included e-mail responses from 1,768 emergency physicians, and had a "theoretical sampling error range" of 2 percentage points.
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