Healthcare News & Insights

Trends: Who’s most likely to wind up in the ER

Who uses ER services the most? Believe it or not, it’s not the uninsured.

One in five people visited hospital emergency departments in 2007, according to a new report by the CDC. The report revealed some interesting trends in ED usage that could be useful for clinicians and administrators alike.

While the number of emergency visits is still high, the rate of non-emergency visits to EDs is down. For 2007, only 10% of ED visits by people under 65 were deemed non-urgent.

What’s most interesting is who’s going to the ED. The report found that uninsured patients were no more likely to make non-urgent trips to the ED than those who did have health insurance and a primary care provider.

But people over 65 with insurance were more likely to seek care. That fact indicates that despite the recent health care reform, the rate of visits to EDs is likely to remain high — and probably get worse — as the population ages.

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