ER Doctor: There are more specialists that can't afford to be on call and cover the Emergency Department
Yesterday I read a story in the Forbes Magazine titled "The Emergency Department Is Healthcare's One-Night Stand. Are We Ready To Address It?" and written by Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD. Here is why I agree with the article and the author's premise as an emergency room physician.
Many people I see because they have been unable to make an appointment with a primary care doctor. Many of them say they have one scheduled, but are now short of breath.
I see many mothers bring their children in at 8 pm because they can't afford to miss work.
Most of these are actually true emergencies or potentially true emergencies. It is unacceptable to think that a patient can know the difference. Under EMTALA we need to provide a medical screening exam, but we always do more because we know they will unlikely be able to follow up.
With the no balanced billing laws there are more and more specialists that can't afford to be on call and cover the Emergency Department - further worsening access to care.
We need to find better ways to make it easy for patients to receive care.