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CDC: 1 in 5 Adults Used Emergency Department in 2011

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 31, 2013

The federal agency's findings, other data, and practical experience suggest that hospitals should brace for a pronounced increase in ED use in 2014 when the ranks of the insured are expected to expand, says a board member of the American College of Emergency Physicians.


Andrew I. Bern


Andrew I. Bern, MD, FACEP (Photo Credit: ACEP)

One in five adults visited the emergency room at least once in 2011 and 7% reported two or more visits for the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The CDC's 36th annual Health, United States, 2012 report also found that in the decade from 2001 to 2011 both children and adults on Medicaid were more likely than the uninsured and people with private insurance to have at least one emergency room visit in the past year.

Andrew I. Bern, MD, an emergency physician in Florida and a board member with the American College of Emergency Physicians, says much of the CDC report "absolutely validates" what his organization has long been saying.

 "The data is debunking the myth that only the uninsured go to the ED," Bern says. "We’ve been saying that for a while but it has not been carried well by the media."

Bern says the CDC data, other reports, and practical experience suggest that hospitals should brace for a pronounced increase in ED use in 2014 when the ranks of the insured are expected to expand by about 30 million people under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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