According to a newly-released study by The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), almost seventy-five percent of emergency physicians polled report that emergency visits are increasing in number despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. A similar healthcare poll last year revealed less than half the doctors surveyed reported increases. This is a significant rise by any measurable standard.
It would appear that the Affordable Care Act has been ineffective at reducing the strain on the already-overburdened emergency care system in the United States. Though lawmakers postulated that insuring more Americans would cause patients to turn more readily to free-standing medical clinics and urgent care facilities for healthcare, that does not seem to be what is happening.
“The reliance on emergency care remains stronger than ever,” said Michael Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP, and president of the ACEP. “It’s the only place that’s open 24/7, and we never turn anyone away. Rather than trying to put a moat around us to keep people out, it’s time to recognize the incredible value of this model of medicine that people need.”
More than fifty-six percent of physicians surveyed also reported an increase in the number of Medicaid patients in their emergency departments. This may be due to the median wait time for appointments with primary care physicians, which now are reported to range from two weeks to more than a month.
“Hospitals received less Medicaid funding for charity care when the ACA took effect, because more people were supposed to have health insurance coverage,” observed Dr. Gerardi. “But in states that didn’t expand Medicaid, hospitals are hurting.”
Among doctors polled in the study, forty-two percent project that emergency visits will continue to rise as patients cannot or will not wait for care from primary care physicians.
This increase in patients seen has resulted in increased need for emergency department staff and supplies. As budget-conscious hospital systems try to meet this need, many administrators are turning to executive level recruiters to find competent staff to deal with the increasing demand.
While the future of healthcare in the United States remains to be seen, it is becoming increasingly clear that competent, efficient, and dedicated healthcare professionals will continue to be in high demand,as will the executives and administrators of hospitals that support them throughout the country. Please contact us for more information about ways that Prime-Core can help with recruiting the best talent for your team of healthcare professionals.