Category Archives: Health

Doctor Health Medical Medicine Specialist

Dr. Eric Forsthoefel on a Growing Medical Problem

A growing problem in the United States is the amount of non-urgent visits to emergency medical facilities with 37% of all visits being non-urgent. Increased non-urgent patient visits result in valuable resources being stretched such as nurses, technicians, beds, and physicians. Many doctors in the United States are becoming concerned by this ongoing epidemic. Dr. Eric Forsthoefel, a Florida based emergency physician, has dealt with hundreds of these patients in emergency facilities stating “because of chronic lack of access to primary care medicine many patients turn to the emergency department for help”. Often those in need of immediate medical attention cannot be helped.

Unfortunately many emergency medical facilities advertise benefits like short wait times to draw in patients for profit. Although access to healthcare is limited, time and resources intended for emergencies should not be diverted to non emergency medical issues. It is assumed those abusing the emergency facilities do not have insurance but, in fact 80% are insured by Medicaid. Medicaid patients are 3x more likely to abuse this system than privately insured individuals, and 2x as likely as non-insured people die to fear of medical bills. For many it is the easiest and cheapest option with no copay for specialized services.

Other factors are age, income, their primary physician is closed in the evenings and on weekends, or the time it takes to get an appointment. As a result of this problem not paying for non-urgent care is growing in popularity among insurance companies to increase profits even in potentially dangerous situations. Some ER doctors say that patients will die because of this policy due to the fact that it is difficult to know if a medical condition is urgent or not before examination. For example something as simple as a chest pain can result from something you just ate or may be early warning signs of an impending heart attack. These policies deter patients from coming through fear of out-of-pocket pay in emergency situations. Some have suggested to change co-pays and deductibles but this works poorly, making no significant differences other than disproportionately affecting low-income individuals. The only viable solution is making primary care and alternatives to emergency care more accessible and convenient.