Monday, April 29, 2013

Another Argument for Urgent Care: Too Many Employer Insured ER Visits

It's not just uninsured that drive up the cost of the ER.  According to this article in Fierce Healthcare most (70%) of visits to ERs by people with employer insurance are unecessary and could have taken place in another venue. 

According to the study cited from a report from Truven Health Analytics.:

"Inappropriate use of emergency department services has become a major source of healthcare system waste," John Azzolini, director of practice leadership at Truven Health Analytics, said in the announcement.  "Conventional wisdom has previously suggested that this issue was confined to the Medicaid, Medicare and uninsured populations, but our new research shows that the privately insured population's use of the ER is avoidable approximately three quarters of the time.

This is one more feather in the cap for urgent care centers, small all services healthcare units which grew at very high rates between 2011 and 2012, according to our recent report.  There are 9,300 in the United States, and this figure is growing.  Urgent care centers can provide more services than a physicians office in most cases, but are not set up for extreme emergencies.  They will be a component of serving the new customers with healthcare insurance, according to Kalorama's recent report.