Monday, January 31, 2011

Markets in Everything: ER Reservations?

KTLA News -- "Instead of showing up at the emergency room and risking a wait, why not make a reservation? Lakewood Regional Medical Center announced on Thursday that you can do just that.

Patients with non-emergency conditions can make an appointment for 90 minutes to 2 hours in advance using InQuickER at www.LakewoodER.com.

Non-emergency patients can wait up to 2 hours if they just showed up at an emergency room, according to hospital officials. Those who use the online service will pay a $14.99 fee."

MP: Maybe I'm a little slow here, but why are people using the Emergency Room for Non-emergency conditions in the first place?

9 Comments:

At 1/31/2011 2:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"MP: Maybe I'm a little slow here, but why are people using the Emergency Room for Non-emergency conditions in the first place?"

Isn't this how poeple with no money, insurance, or healthcare coverage of any kind get "free" medical treatment?

 
At 1/31/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/31/2011 3:32 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

I have noticed in Richmond, VA advertising the current emergency room wait at the local HCA Hospital. Reservations may not be necessary if they can seat you right-a-way.

 
At 1/31/2011 4:48 PM, Blogger The Bitter Guy said...

ron h is correct. The emergency room is the place where poor people can get primary health care as staff will treat whether or not the patient can pay.

 
At 1/31/2011 5:42 PM, Blogger Dr. T said...

"... why are people using the Emergency Room for Non-emergency conditions in the first place?"

Because they have an acute illness or injury and cannot get an appointment with their regular physician for days or weeks.

Because they do not have a personal physician and the waiting times for new patient visits are too long.

Because they are out-of-towners who forgot their prescription medicines and cannot reach their personal physicians or home-town pharmacies.

Because their main physician is a specialist (such as a cardiologist) who won't see them for other types of problems (such as acute back pain or a GI bug).

Those are some legitimate reasons. Other reasons for using ERs for nonurgent care include avoiding office visit co-payments, getting Medicaid to provide free transportation to and from the ER, pain-killer "shopping" (using different doctors and ERs to acquire opiates), etc.

 
At 2/01/2011 12:37 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Ron and Bitter Guy are right. In fact, emergency room care is mandated by law, they cannot turn you away, just because you have no insurance. But, generally you have to be pretty sick, and all that is required is that they stabilize you.


So, people without insurance more or less wait till there is a crisis, and then get the most expensive help around.

This is one reason people argue that Obamacare will lower costs, because some of these people will et coverage and will get care before acute care is needed.

So the argument goes.

 
At 2/02/2011 3:56 PM, Blogger Mike said...

If I heard somebody say what I'm about to, I'd probably think they were stretching the truth, so to any of you who think that, I understand.
I swear, it's the absolute truth.

My appendix was about to burst and, after seeing my doctor (who thankfully has weekend hours), she called ahead to the hospital to try and get me in with little delay. I have insurance.

I waited for HOURS behind many people with no insurance who, as far as I could tell, had little or nothing wrong with them. I wouldn't make that assumption about their condition if I hadn't heard these people make fast friends with each other. I believe some of them had previously met in the ER. As I am doubled over in pain, they're all laughing it up, comparing all the times they'd come to the ER. I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I honestly believe there are a significant number of people who go to the ER for attention/excuse to get out of work/because they're crazy, not needed medical care.
I'm not a violent person, but I swear, I would have given them a reason to be there had I been able to stand up.

Count me in for the $15 reservation. Make it $100.

 
At 2/03/2011 4:03 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Mike,

What happened to you is terrible. You obviously know more about your own personal experience than anyone else, but based on your comment, a couple of reasons for your wait come to mind.

First, someone in the ER may not have correctly assessed your needs relative to those of others. If that's the case, your complaints should result in that someone being reassigned to less critical job duties to prevent such an occurrence in the future.

Second, and more likely, is that something required for your treatment, an OR or a surgeon perhaps, wasn't available when you needed it, in which case I can understand the slackers with minor complaints being treated ahead of you.

 
At 2/10/2011 7:04 AM, Blogger shwan said...

Nice blog..I am looking forward to read your next great article.

 

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