Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Emergency department visits continue to rise, AHA annual survey finds

From AHA News:

Hospitals treated more than 114 million patients in the emergency department in 2005, while inpatient visits remained constant at 35.2 million, according to the AHA's Annual Survey of Hospitals. ED visits have increased by about one-third since 1990 while the number of EDs has declined, increasing pressure on EDs that remain open. Worker shortages, challenges securing on-call coverage by specialty physicians, reduced behavioral health resources and ambulance diversions also posed challenges to hospital EDs. According to the survey, the financial state of hospitals remains fragile, with one-third of hospitals operating with negative margins. Medicare reimbursed 92 cents for every dollar hospitals spent caring for Medicare patients, while Medicaid reimbursement again dropped in 2005 to 87 cents on the dollar.

AHA President Dick Davidson said: "These are the numbers behind the reality that the women and men in America's hospitals face every day. Despite these many challenges, they manage to deliver the crucial services their communities need. The AHA and its ember hospitals are committed to working with legislators and others to solve emergency room overcrowding, workforce shortages, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement shortfalls and the many other issues that stand in the way of a better health care system." The survey data can be found in AHA Hospital Statistics - 2007.


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