In an interesting study in 2008, Dr. Manya Newton, an emergency room physician at the University of Michigan, and others, authored a paper explaining some of the reasons that emergency rooms are so overcrowded. While many of us make the assumption that the uninsured are coming to the emergency room too frequently for non-essential visits, they found this to be a myth. They found that, while 17% of the people in American were uninsured at the time, they only accounted for 10-15% of the visits to the ER.
One factor that they did find to explain the overcrowding is that the population at large is getting older and sicker. More people are legitimately coming to the ER for real emergencies. In addition, with fewer primary care doctors available, it’s harder to get an appointment. If you call your doctor’s office and are put off, you might consider going to the ER instead.
These are a few of the interesting findings that these emergency room doctors reported.