4 Ways the ACA is Squeezing Emergency Departments
HealthLeaders Media News, September 9, 2016
- Annual Visit Volume is Up
Annual ED visit volume in Illinois increased from 2.9 million in 2011 to 3.2 million in 2015, an 8.1% increase statewide. In Massachusetts, from 2005 to 2015, the median number of annual ED visits increased on average from 32,025 to 42,000.
- Specialist Access is Down
From 2005 to 2015, Massachusetts saw a significant drop in availability of specialists in surgery, neurology, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics, plastic surgery, and psychiatry. For example, availability of general surgeons declined by 15%, while 24/7 psychiatry availability declined by 23%.
- There Aren't Enough Rooms
In Massachusetts, there was a 29% increase in EDs caring for patients in areas outside the ED, such as hallways—from 70% of EDs reporting this situation in 2005 to 89% in 2015. "That is obviously far from ideal and is indicative of an increasingly taxed emergency medical care system," Jason Sanders, MD, PhD, of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a statement.