Wednesday, April 1, 2009

9 People - 2,678 ER Visits - $3 Million

You've heard me say it before! This is, yet, more evidence that we live in a crisis driven society! The reader's initial response may be to blame these 9 people, but what would you do if you had no money? Would you go to the emergency room and wait 4-8 hours for care? Would you go to the indigent care clinic / mental health clinic and wait 6-12 months for care? If it makes you feel better, go ahead and blame the infamous 9, and I would agree that they share in that blame. Or, you can choose to take responsibility and commit to a change.

This $3 million breaks down to a little over $55,000 per person per year. If you're footing the bill (and you are) you could provide room & board, most meds, fair health care (preventative and maintenance) for around $14,000 per year (probably less). Tell your legislator what you think. I would challange the local Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams to make efforts to document the costs of the frequent users of crisis services.

Austin ER's got 2,678 visits from 9 people over 6 years
Task force seeking ways to divert non-emergencies away from emergency rooms.

By Mary Ann Roser


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In the past six years, eight people from Austin and one from Luling racked up 2,678 emergency room visits in Central Texas, costing hospitals, taxpayers and others $3 million, according to a report from a nonprofit made up of hospitals and other providers that care for the uninsured and low-income Central Texans.

One of the nine spent more than a third of last year in the ER: 145 days. That same patient totaled 554 ER visits from 2003 through 2008.

"We looked at frequent users of emergency departments ... and that's the extreme," said Ann Kitchen, executive director of the Integrated Care Collaboration, the group that presented the report last week to the Travis County Healthcare District board. "What we're really trying to do is find out who's using our emergency rooms ... and find solutions."

The health district, one of 26 members of the ICC, has long been concerned about overuse and crowding of ERs, a problem that has hit hospitals around the country. (view the rest here)

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