This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

ERs Have Become Central Staging Area For Acutely Ill Patients

More Complex Care Provided in a Challenging Health Care Environment

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lack of stable medical homes and reduced inpatient capacity are key factors that could be responsible for a shift toward higher billing levels over the past decade in U.S. emergency departments, according to a new report from the New England Journal of Medicine ( http://tinyurl.com/d2fnsyh). Changing standards of care and the implementation of electronic medical records are additional potential factors in this shift that is accompanied by increases in higher-complexity, higher paid visits for Medicare emergency patients.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100616/DC22034LOGO-d)

Study authors were responding to a recent report by the Office of Inspector General, a watchdog organization of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which suggested a widespread phenomenon of "upcoding" in all specialties, but especially emergency medicine.  Subsequent reports in news organizations, including The New York Times and Washington Post, embellished this assertion with separate analyses and specific examples. The authors of this perspective piece, however, examined a nationally representative sample in order to refine these assertions, and concluded that blaming upcoding alone oversimplifies what is happening.

"Care that used to be provided on in-patient floors is now being done in emergency departments," said Dr. Andy Sama, president of ACEP. "Also, in the past decade, primary care physicians increasingly have sent their patients to the emergency department for more prompt and definitive work-ups. They may simply be seriously concerned, overburdened, or the patient may have complex issues that can't be diagnosed easily in a primary care setting. But this puts the burden of accurate and efficient diagnosing on emergency physicians, which leads to higher complexity, and higher billed visits."

In addition, wider trends in the use of technology in health care play a major role.  According to the report, higher use of diagnostic technology is "magnified" in the emergency department, where physicians have ready access to advanced imaging, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography. Further analysis might reveal this also could have an unexpected effect of lowering overall health care costs, because some of these higher paid visits prevent hospital admissions, and hospital admissions are much more expensive than ER visits.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,079.57 -42.44 -0.25%
S&P 500 1,996.74 -3.38 -0.17%
NASDAQ 4,557.6950 -11.9260 -0.26%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs