We had a recent debate on the economics of medicine that — unfortunately– veered over into the realm of politics. I hope these facts will be considered solely as a question of how the business of medicine has evolved recently for hospitals:

According to the NEJM ED (emergency department) visit rates increased by more than a third between 1997 and 2007…The number of hospital admissions increased by 15.0%, from 34.3 million in 1993 to 39.5 million in 2006; admissions from the ED increased by 50.4%, from 11.5 million to 17.3 million.

The proportion of all inpatient stays involving admission from the ED increased from 33.5 to 43.8%.EDs have become the primary growth area for what all hospitals must have in order to make money - a supply of patients who stay for more than 1 night and have a major procedure.

Jeff Watson writes: 

I suspect the hospitals realize Stefan's observation. All around my town, Doctor's Hospital has billboards up with a real time wait numeric display for the wait time of the emergency room posted. If they say that the ER an 11 minute wait, a 2 minute wait, or a 30 minute wait, and they advertise this all over town, is it really an emergency room? FWIW, they also have smart phone apps doing the same thing.

Dan Grossman writes: 

I doubt anyone who has received or seen a hospital emergency room bill in recent years would regard it as a loss leader.

It is a mystery to me why Medicaid, Medicare and other programs do not encourage patients to go, if possible, to one of those for-proftt medi-quick clinics for a $150 bill, instead of to a hospital emergency room for a $1,500 bill.

Bud Conrad writes: 

I fell off my bicycle. (In Calf.)

I was strapped to a board and taken against my will to the Stanford hospital where I was in a neck brace for hours and was X rayed. Cat scanned and get this: given a sonogram! I guess they thought I might be pregnant. The 10 minute ride to the hospital was $1500 the emergency room about $15,000, and a couple of days later in a different hospital the surgery for a broken arm was $103,000 - not including the doctor, anesthesiologist, nurse or follow up care.

This system is broken beyond repair and a disgrace. From my point of view a POX on the whole lot of doctors, lawyers and government sponsored payments system!





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. Jeff Watson on July 17, 2012 5:10 pm

    Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota even has a wait time for the ER on it’s website. http://doctorsofsarasota.com/our-services/er-wait-time.dot

  2. Ed on July 18, 2012 11:40 am

    The medical cartel and the government sponsors are truly out of control. The best option is to live as healthily and cautiously as one can stand, particularly diet and physical risks. Try to minimize/avoid contact with the controlled medical system as much as possible.

  3. William Hansen on July 18, 2012 5:32 pm

    As I have told my two grown sons use doctors and dentist for check ups and prevention and stay away from lawyers, they all know how to pick your pocket.

  4. Steve C. M. on July 20, 2012 12:06 pm

    " and a couple of days later in a different hospital the surgery for a broken arm was $103,000 - not including the doctor, anesthesiologist, nurse or follow up care."

    This is the only reason I pay for health (sickness) insurance. I have a a huge deductible that I raise every year and small accident rider say $1500 in coverage.

    If you have traceable assets, and you get into an accident, you could wake up in the hospital with a huge bill and then lose the equity in your house for example.

    The health care racket in the USA is evil.


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