Health insurance companies are beginning to cut coverage for emergency room visits that don’t qualify as an emergency. This is incredibly dangerous, according to Dr. Eric Forsthoefel. He and his colleagues would like to ask the health insurance companies exactly what qualifies as an emergency? And they’d like to know who exactly would determine the qualifications.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is vehemently against deterrents for emergency room visits. He and his staff believe that deterrents would put lives at risk. He goes on to explain that he has instructed his staff to see every patient that walks through the doors in his Tallahassee, Florida, emergency room.
The doctor does concede there is a problem with our emergency rooms. A new study has found that one-third of Americans have used the emergency room for routine medical care. These non-critical patients make it difficult for Dr. Eric Forsthoefel and his staff as they scramble to take care of more emergent situations. But, the doctor notes, he doesn’t mind giving the best care possible. He simply worries that the influx of non-urgent patients could put critical patients in jeopardy.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel wants to redirect the patients that are abusing emergency room privileges. The last thing he wants to do is deny any of those people care because that could lead to injury, suffering and unneeded death.
Healthcare is a contentious debate in the United States as politicians argue over which system would be most beneficial for the country. There is a popular belief that “freeloaders” are overloading the system. But that’s not the case, according to Dr. Eric Forsthoefel.
A recent study shows that 80% of patients using the emergency room for routine care have good health insurance. These patients would be put into the category of middle- or high-income. These are the patients that are abusing the system and Dr. Eric Forsthoefel wants to answer why.
Most of the middle- or high-income patients that he sees in his emergency room tell him that their primary physician is difficult to get a hold of. They tell him that they come into the emergency room for the convenience. Therein lies the problem.
The doctor thinks that the stress on the emergency room can be alleviated by primary physicians. More middle- and high-income patients would choose their primary physicians over the emergency room if they had better access to their primary doctor. He would like to see primary physicians keep evening hours in order to avoid large crowds in the emergency room.
Hospitals have been trying to address this problem for quite some time. Some have considered raising emergency room co-pays, but Dr. Eric Forsthoefel does not think that is the answer. He wants low-income people to have access to care, as well.