It’s no secret that non-urgent care is starting to take its toll on all hospitals across the country, and according to patch.com, an independent news and information platform, Florida emergency rooms are being particularly hard hit as more residents find themselves without insurance. To that point, it has been reported that one-third of Americans visit emergency rooms for non-urgent care. What does this mean, exactly? Basically, those who are not insured or underinsured are treating hospitals like a primary care provider, using valuable hospital resources for non-urgent medical needs.
So when did this problem in America’s hospital emergency rooms become a problem? Well, according to AJMC (American Journal of Managed Care), this problem can be traced back to the 1990s; however, as of 2014, hospitals across the country began seeing an uptick in the number of non-urgent emergency room visits. In this article, we will detail Dr. Eric Forsthoefel’s thoughts on this crisis. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Forsthoefel, he is a Florida-based physician who has experienced firsthand how non-urgent emergency rooms visits can drain valuable hospital resources.
WHEN DOCTORS SPEAK OUT AGAINST NON-URGENT CARE EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS
Having worked as an emergency room physician at Florida’s Bixler Trauma and Emergency Center, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel has personally witnessed, not to mention treated, countless non-urgent care visits. In saying that, he attributes the greater majority of these visits to individuals not having access to primary care providers or much-needed medicines, perhaps both. Before we delve too much further into Dr. Forsthoefel’s stance on the country’s emergency room crisis, let’s take a moment to explore his background.
- ERIC FORSTHOEFEL
Dr. Forsthoefel attended Florida State University where he studied religion; after graduating in 2004, he enrolled in the University Of Louisville School Of Medicine, earning his MD degree in 2009. After completing his formal education, Dr. Forsthoefel began his residency with LSU Health Sciences Center, before joining Florida’s Bixler Trauma and Emergency Center as an emergency room physician in 2012. Needless to say, Dr. Forsthoefel is more than qualified to weigh in and share his thoughts on America’s hospitals being treated as a primary care provider’s office.
WHEN HEALTH INSURANCE BECOMES COST-PROHIBITIVE
For many Americans, the costs of health care can be a challenge, and in many cases, paying health care premiums is not always as critical as keeping a roof over your head or food in the refrigerator, for example. This is a sobering truth that not everyone can identify with; however, those who face these challenges head-on also know that making the right choice is not always easy.
That aside, Dr. Forsthoefel candidly shares the protocols in place at Bixler Trauma and Emergency Center when a patient requests to be seen for a non-emergency, stating that although these visits can place a financial strain on hospital resources, it does not negate their obligations as emergency room doctors and nurses. He further states that he recognizes that health insurance can be outside the reach of what many can afford, but he, along with his colleagues, have made it their mission to ensure that all patients receive the treatment they need.