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Why Rural EDs Are Struggling to Survive

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, June 29, 2011

"Emergency departments are absolutely an essential service for the community," Schneider says. "We think it is really a crisis for rural America."

Other key findings:


  • In 2008, 6.4 percent of all ED visits occurred in rural areas
  • About 51% of EDs in rural areas are in critical access hospitals
  • 56.2% of rural ED patients lived in ZIP Codes with the lowest median household income compared to 30.1% of non-rural ED patients
  • About 44% of adult visits to rural EDs were either paid by Medicaid (28%) or uncompensated/billed to uninsured patients (almost 16.5%)
  • Sprains and strains, contusions, abdominal pain, headache, and back problems were the most frequently treated conditions among adults in rural EDs

See Also:
The New ED: Keep Patients Out (but Happy)
ACEP Chief Rails Against ED Diversions, Scheduling
The Coordinated ED
Medicare Reimbursement Cut Further Squeezes Emergency Department Economics

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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