Emergency Department Visits on the Rise

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Emergency Department Visits on the Rise
Emergency Department Visits on the Rise

TUESDAY, Nov. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The number of emergency department visits in the United States rose from 129.8 million in 2010 to a record 136.3 million in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings also showed that fewer people were going to emergency departments with non-urgent medical needs: 96 percent of patients were identified as needing medical care within two hours of arriving at the emergency department. In 2010, that number was 92 percent, according to the research.

Sixty percent of patients arrived at the emergency department after normal business hours (after 5 p.m. on weekdays). One-third of visits were for patients on either end of the age spectrum -- younger than 15 or older than 65, the researchers found. Almost 30 percent (29.5 percent) of visits were for injuries. The highest injury rates were among patients 75 and older.

"The report also finds that there are large numbers of admitted patients who wait long times for inpatient beds," Michael Gerardi, M.D., president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), said in an ACEP news release. "Nearly two-thirds of patients waited two or more hours for beds in 2011, and nearly three-quarters of hospitals continued to board patients, even when the emergency department was critically overloaded. Hospitals must move admitted patients out of the emergency department faster to make room for the increasing number of people coming," he said.

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