ERs fail as the nation’s safety net – Los Angeles Times

It’s official: there’s an ED crisis!

ERs fail as the nation’s safety net – Los Angeles Times
The long waits that government inspectors say endanger emergency room patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center can also be found in backlogged hospitals across the country, according to emergency care experts who have been trying for years to draw attention to the nation’s overloaded safety net.

“Overcrowding in our emergency departments is a national crisis,” said Dr. Linda Lawrence, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, an advocacy group based in Washington D.C. “We no longer have the capacity to serve as the safety net for society.”

The perfect storm continues.  In any other sector of society increasing demand and decreasing supply would increase prices, and reimbursement.  Increased profits could be used to provide for more supply (or not, it’s not a perfect world).  But ‘Medicine is Different’.

A guaranteed way to lose is to have a business that must give away their product, facing continual and grinding decreases in all payments, with increasing mandates and regulation.

You get what you pay for.  And vice-versa.


Comments

  1. We are still the safety net. So the ED is crowded. At least you will get seen. You may have to wait 3,4,8, or 10 hours, but you will be seen. The problem is, as you know, nobody wants to be inconvenienced. They want to be seen now, and a large percentage are never going to pay you. They expect you to give your service away for free. They will call the administrator of the hospital if they have to wait. I had a patient call the police, yes the POLICE, on me because the triage nurse let another pt go ahead of her. The police officer actually had the nerve to try and question me. I won’t print what I told him. We are the safety net, it may have a few holes in it, but you can come to the ED and you will be seen, eventually.

  2. Goatwhacker says:

    The sad thing is the government will take this as a sign they need to become more involved and not less.

  3. The sad thing is the government will take this as a sign they need to become more involved and not less.

    Alas… the above is the truth.

  4. House Whisperer says:

    I’ve heard that before, “safety net.” I don’t see how it applies to my job of identifying and treating emergencies. That is all I do. We do not provide housing, food, transportation, or drug and alcohol counseling. We are too busy doing the only job we have: identifying and treating emergencies. Everyone else has come to the wrong place. Enough politicians and community do-gooders have called us a “safety net” that we have begun to think of this as our responsibility. I can’t think of a less appropriate place to have a “safety net” than an emergency department.

  5. HW,

    If you only treat emergencies I want your job. I can’t remember a shift in the last several years where I didn’t have someone ask for food, transportation or a place to sleep. Don’t even get me started on the drug, alcohol and psychiatric counseling. If it were only emergencies it would be the perfect job!