Thursday, January 05, 2006

Florida "ER Crisis"

From the Palm Beach Post:

A statewide health task force on Wednesday confirmed what people in Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast have known for several years: The wait in hospital emergency departments in Florida has grown excruciatingly long, and patients aren't always getting the care they need.

"Florida is facing a crisis in providing emergency care to the citizens in Florida," according to the 120-page report from the group of hospital executives, health insurance officials, state regulators, doctors and emergency medical services personnel.

At its core, the problem is a simple supply-and-demand issue: As the number of patients seeking care in hospital emergency departments has soared with the state's population growth, the number of doctors working in emergency rooms has shrunk. Florida doctors have fled the emergency room mostly because of their perceived increased risk of being sued and worries about not collecting payment from uninsured patients.


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