When you need medical attention, don’t you want to get the right care, at the right place and the right time? Of course you do. Since 70% of Emergency Department (ED) visits are not emergencies or could have been prevented with timely and effective care in a doctor’s office, most of us aren’t getting the right care, at the right place and the right time. Don’t you find this disturbing?
Why Should We Care?
- There’s a big cost difference. An average ED visit costs $1,316 and an average doctor office visit costs, $145. (Note: The amount you or your insurance company pays could be significantly different.)
- Out-of-pocket insurance costs for an ED visit are higher with a co-pay ranging from $50-$150+ and possible co-insurance of an additional 10-50%.
- Unnecessary visits to the ED can have a negative impact on the quality of ED care due to crowding, long waits and added stress on staff. These can take away from patients in need of true emergency care.
- Your quality of care is affected. The ED isn’t the best place to get care that your primary care physician can provide. Because the ED may not have access to your medical information, you may face redundant medical tests and have an increased risk of medical mistakes.
Why are we going to the ED when it’s not a life threatening situation or a real emergency?
An analysis by Truven Health MarketScan shows these common diagnoses for non-emergency department visits are:
- Skin rashes
- Head and neck symptoms
- Sore throat
- Back disorders
- GI symptoms
- Urinary tract infections
- Ear aches
- Sprains of ankle and foot
Here are some steps you can take to help you MakeTheRightCall:
- If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit YourHealthMatters.org to find one in Greater Cincinnati that meets your needs.
- Strengthen your relationship with you primary care physician by making sure he or she knows your medical history and if you have a condition such as diabetes or asthma. Talk to your doctor about when you should go to the Emergency Department.
- Learn or ask about your primary care physician’s after-hours procedures (most have a doctor on call).
- Learn the symptoms of a stroke, heart attack, or other life-threatening conditions that might come on quickly and require immediate medical attention.
- Everyone feel aches and pains, but if you have pain that is not typical and/or worries you, call you doctors and discuss it right away. And if you are suffering a true medical emergency, call 911 or seek treatment at the Emergency Department.
To learn more about getting the right care at the right place and the right time, join MakeTheRightCall on Facebook.
Director, Consumer Engagement & Programs
The Health Collaborative