Learn how to spot and avoid impostors at our free, two-part webinar Feb. 18 and 20. Register today!
by Michelle Diament, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, June 1, 2009
Think your local emergency room is crowded? Here’s a startling look at why that might be.
An analysis of emergency room usage in the central Texas area found that in the last six years, just nine residents accounted for a whopping 2,678 visits. One of the nine was in the emergency room more than 100 times a year for four years.
Little is known about these nine individuals other than that they’re all middle-age, speak English and are about evenly split between male and female. Some have histories of substance abuse and mental health issues.
What is clear, though, is that the abundance of visits likely could have been avoided, says Anjum Khurshid, director of clinical research and evaluation at the Integrated Care Collaboration, which conducted the analysis.
“The key lesson of this is if we talk to each other and have a coordinated system, we can prevent these kinds of numbers,” Khurshid says.
Reducing the numbers could make a big difference. The average cost of an emergency room visit in the United States is about $1,000. At that rate, the nine Texans likely racked up more than $2.7 million in charges.
The results of the Texas analysis are no surprise, says Caroline Steinberg of the American Hospital Association. “Uninsured people don’t get primary care, so they end up going to the emergency room for things that could have been prevented had they had access to primary care.”
Michelle Diament is a freelance writer based in Memphis, Tenn.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
Members get Staying Sharp for FREE – brain-boosting recipes, activities, games and more.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at