Monday, January 23, 2012

the modern day ER

Hospitals these days seem to serve 2 groups of people. The elderly with complex medical problems and histories, and the poor who come to ER for their medical care.

What happened to everybody else? Are they going to urgent care? Are they going to their own doctors? Are they just not seeking care because they don't have insurance?

Honestly this is what hospitals have become. They are turning into places where those admitted are really sick. Often they have a long list of medical problems which make their current problem more complex.

Maybe the people in the middle have figured out that if they come in for some minor problem, they will sit for hours and have decided they can wait to see their own doctor.

The poor people seem to be willing to wait. Are they are used to waiting? They will sit for hours with their sore throats or tummy aches waiting to be seen. Then they come back next month for some other minor difficulty.

Makes me wonder if hospitals will become high tech nursing homes keeping old people alive. Makes me think that ERs will always be the place where the poor seek care. In Washington state this last year they tried to limit the amount of times someone on medicaid could be seen in ER for a nonacute complaint to three times. After three times, they would be charged like a hundred dollars or something. It was overturned by the court.

We are fooling ourselves when we think we can limit healthcare costs. They will only keep going up.


Anonymous said...

I had to have food stamps for a brief period in my life after hurricane damage left my house unlivable - I didn't much to begin with. The "poor" system is built around the idea that you don't have anywhere to go anyway, so you can sit for 5 hours waiting to fill out a form. I actually had a job I needed to be at and could not afford to wait like that, so I stopped the food stamps even though I really needed them. I couldn't believe how the system really reinforces people to NOT have jobs - it does nothing to help you get one.

rnraquel said...

A lot of the hospitals in Florida are already high tech nursing homes. Everyone is a full code too.

Anonymous said...

doesn't seem to be an end in sight...

Scrubs said...

It's a complicated and messy problem, that's for sure!