Emphasizing Access

Published Online: January 23, 2014
With the average cost of an emergency room visit hovering at $1,200, funneling patients through the ER is not an effective way to manage chronic health conditions. Those who lack medical insurance aren't the only subgroup using the ER as a doctor's office.

Many folks across the country, insured, uninsured and underinsured, are forced to rely on emergency departments because they lack convenient access to physicians with specialized expertise.

Persistent health problems such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension are just a few of the conditions that require periodic checkups with medical specialists. Unfortunately, in some neighborhoods, specialists are in short supply. This is especially hard on the elderly, on people who lack access to reliable transportation, and on many others who don't have the luxury of requesting sick leave in order to travel long distances.

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Source: Modern Healthcare