Tuesday, July 18, 2006

News Release: It's not the uninsured and the undocumented crowding our ERs

Surprise, surprise! What we thought we knew about ER overuse is not correct, according to a newly released study by the Center for Studying Health System Change:

Hospital Emergency Department Use Varies Greatly Across the United States

Contrary to Conventional Wisdom, Communities with More Uninsured, Hispanic or Immigrant Residents Generally Have Lower Levels of Emergency Department Use

Press Release
July 18, 2006

FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alwyn Cassil (202) 264-3484 or acassil@hschange.org

WASHINGTON, DC—Contrary to popular belief, communities with high levels of uninsured, Hispanic or immigrant residents generally have much lower rates of per person hospital emergency department (ED) use than other communities, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) published today as a Web Exclusive in the journal Health Affairs....

...Despite common perceptions that high rates of uninsured and immigrant residents contribute to higher ED use, communities with the highest levels of ED use generally did not have the highest numbers of uninsured, low-income, racial/ethnic minorities or immigrant residents....

...while a rapid influx of immigrants may contribute to ED crowding in some individual hospitals—particularly along the U.S.-Mexico border—immigration is not a major contributing factor to ED crowding nationally, even in many communities that have a large population of Hispanic immigrants.

"Hispanic immigrants—a high proportion of whom are uninsured—are not heavy users of EDs compared to other individuals, including whites with private insurance," Cunningham said. "And their numbers are still too small in the vast majority of communities nationwide to have a major impact on the health care system in those communities."

For example, noncitizens in 2003 on average had about 17 fewer ED visits per 100 people than citizens, while uninsured people had 16 fewer visits on average than Medicaid patients, about 20 fewer visits than Medicare beneficiaries and roughly the same rates as privately insured people....

Read the full news release at the web site linked above.

I always suspected it wasn't as simple as everyone made it seem to be. Things generally are more complex than they appear to be on the surface; a good reminder about knee-jerk reactions to perceived problems, probably.




Blogger kate loving shenk said...

enjoy your blog!

here's a link to my weekly newsletter for nurses:

enjoy and happy thanksgiving!

kate loving shenk

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Onehealthpro said...

Keep up the good work. I, too, am so very tired of people looking for simple solutions for complex issues.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...


I was wondering if you'd be interested in posting any articles from the Nursezone.com website. There are lots of relevant articles for todays nurse. The great news is that using nursezone content on your site is no cost. We'd just like to have a link back to our site for those of your bloggers interested in finding a community of nurses, CE opportunities, travel nursing and other relevant nurse aids. A partial example of a nursing article is below:

Nurse Overcomes Cancer—Twice—to Provide Care to Others

By Nancy Deutsch, RN, contributor

Many people yearn to make nursing their career, but few have to battle the odds like Valerie Bush.

The Independence, Kentucky, woman, who was a medical technician for six years and a nurse’s aide “on and off forever,” waited until her children were raised to return to nursing school. When she finally entered the Gateway Community and Technical College, it was unbelievably stressful. Not only was the single mother dealing with her course work, but her father died, and her youngest daughter was dealing with medical problems, including bipolar disease.

Bush, now 42 years old, was “disgustingly healthy when I started” school in 2004, but quite overweight, and she started to lose a lot of the extra girth.

“I lost massive amounts of weight in just a few months,” she recalled. “I was a pretty big girl. I lost 100 pounds.”

At first, Bush chalked up the weight loss and constant belching to stress, but when she shed all the weight, she found a lump in her breast. “I decided to see a doctor over break.”

Bush was diagnosed with DCIS, and beneath that, metastatic breast cancer.

“I lost everything in a week,” Bush said. The diagnosis sent her daughter off the deep end, upset her boyfriend, and meant she had to stop the classes she had waited so long to take.

“As a nurse, you think you know what a cancer diagnosis entails,” she said. “But you don’t. It affects every single thing in your life.” … (more article to come)

© 2007. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Let me know what you think.

Tracy (nursezoneportal@earthlink.net)

1:40 PM  

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