Monday, October 10, 2005

New ED Construction

From an MSNBC article about new ED construction in the Triad:

"Hospital ER investments boost overall financial health"

Hospitals point to emergency rooms as linchpins in their community service mission. The ER is typically one of the most expensive places to receive care, and most Triad hospitals say they've seen an increase in the number of uninsured patients in the last few years, who often can't afford to pay all of their bills.

Nonetheless, it turns out that hospital emergency departments are not necessarily big sources of red ink. In some cases they may even be profitable, and they drive business to the rest of the hospital.

Hospitals' front door

Even if a hospital loses money in its emergency room, administrators may still view a bigger ER as a good investment. That's because the emergency department is a major source of hospital admissions.

"The emergency room is important to the hospital because it's kind of considered the front door for a lot of patients to come in," said Richard Gundling, vice president of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, a large professional group for people who work in health care financing.

"We don't generally evaluate the emergency department in isolation," said Lynn Pitman, director of strategic planning at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "It impacts the whole house."

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