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ER Waiting Time and Universal HC;What's it Mean for You?

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatriotsInGA, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. PatriotsInGA

    PatriotsInGA In the Starting Line-Up

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    #11 Jersey

    I got around to thinking about this while seeing a billboard for the current ER waiting time (yes we are that advanced in the Bible Belt :rolleyes:)


    And it got me thinking, if every American had healthcare, the waiting time would greatly increase. Now I thought maybe 20-30 minutes per ER.

    This may not seems like a long time, but what if you have a minor injury? Let's say a broken ankle or an object stuck in your arm (my case). I ended up waiting 1 hour and 40 minutes just to be seen. But that's beside the point. Now that more people have healthcare, more people will be in the ER. You will have to wait behind them. You could be there for what seems like forever.

    This is just another problem with the HC bill. I guess no one in Congress failed to think about this problem; and that goes for both Democrats and Republicans.
     
  2. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #95 Jersey


    Not just in ERs but in doctors' offices. If you increase demand by 20% by insuring those currently without but you keep the supply of doctors at the same level, you burden the system and the result will be longer waits to see the doctor or shorter visits when you do, or both....
    I say that, not as a criticism of the HC bill, but as an observation and a prediction.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  3. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    Well, obviously those with real health care should get priority.
     
  4. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Nobody's health care policy, real or otherwise, means diddly-squat in an ER - it never has and it never will.

    ERs are run on a triage system - doesn't matter when you come in, only matters what you come in with. A guy with chest pain will always be seen before a guy with a broken arm, a guy with a broken arm will always be seen before a guy with a head cold. A gunshot to the head trumps a gunshot to the buttocks - unless the gunshot to the buttocks isn't breathing right and seems to be bleeding out and the guy with the gunshot to the head is not only breathing fine but talking to the nurse as well - In which case they will be seen virtually simultaneously.

    Insurance simply does not matter. Nor should it. You'll appreciate that fact the next time you have a heart attack while out jogging and do not have a wallet with any ID on you and are rushed to the ER unconscious and unidentifiable.

    Trust me on this one.
     
  5. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The ER wait time sign for the hospital near my house, St Elizabeth's, never says more than 15 minutes. They just spent 10's of millions remodeling the ER, so if they were ever in a position to need to resort to staff cuts it would be now.

    This is in Boston, MA. where UHC has been a fact of life for going on 5 years now.
     
  6. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your Right.............
     
  7. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    So, are you suggesting that we should try to make sure fewer people have health insurance, for the convenience of those of us who currently happen to have it?
     
  8. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Actually, this idea that univeral health care will result in more people visiting ERs thus increasing the wait time is in direct contradiction to the current theory usually touted on here that wait times in ERs are long because there are so many uninsured people who rely solely on ERs for their health care.

    Which is it, guys? Can't have it both ways, yanno.

    Either the ERs are not currently filled with uninsured patients but they will be when uninsured patients have insurance or the ERs ARE currently filled with uninsured patients who, when they get universal health insurance, will be able to seek care in a doctor's office, thus leaving the ERs to those who are seriously injured or ill.

    Or it'll be a wash because some will and some won't.
     
  9. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    Well, if Massachusetts' experience with universal care is any guide it appears that both will increase. Part of the idea behind the Mass. law was that the reduced ER expenses would help subsidize insurance for those who did not have it. In practice, many of those who visited ERs previously did so out of ignorance and because they did not have to pay more for it (Medicaid patients). Those phenomena will now be played out nationwide.

    Emergency room visits grow in Mass. - The Boston Globe

    Who Uses Emergency Care and Why?

    On top of this, I think that there are people that believed the demagoguery of the left that there were 40 or 50 million Americans with "no health care" who will now seek care, but do so in the wrong place (ER) as those on Medicaid did in the past.

    There will also be those who now have coverage and who seek out a primary care doctor, so I expect demand to increase for both.

    As the OP mentioned, no provisions were made in the plan for increasing the pool of providers which means that we will all be waiting more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  10. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    I can vouch for this because my wife works in the ER/trauma center in a hospital as an RN. She tells me that the long wait times are due mostly to people that are not there for emergency treatment...though she tells me a number complain that more serious cases get in ahead of them when it was they that were there first. Nevertheless they have to treat each one thoroughly enough to rule out genuine injury or illness.
     
  11. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    Of course wait times will increase with universal coverage. Why? Because seeing a doctor for an injury is no longer a gamble about whether or not it was worth all the money to do so. For example, when I burned my arm a couple years ago, I shrugged it off and said I was going to wait and see what happens. My wife, who grew up in Canada, wanted me to go to the ER right away. I held out, and, in the end, it turned out just fine. You can barely see the scar. But, perhaps I might have been more receptive to seeing a doctor if I knew there weren't going to be a smorgasbord of charges that I was going to have to fight over with my insurance company?

    It's anecdotal, but as a rule, my ER wait times were a lot higher in Canada than they were in the US. YMMV

    Is it worth it to have longer waits to ensure that everyone has access to health care without getting run into the poor house? You decide.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  12. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    Well if the wait takes too long I am not sure that you can characterize it as "access". Like if the wait time for a colonoscopy exceeds the amount of time it takes for the colon cancer to reach the point of no return then the fact that you don't have any bills will be of little comfort.
     
  13. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

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    In this you are right. I can vouche for the sickest person in the ER gets seen frist. I hope the new bill does not change that.

    I know that the previous statement is not true, it makes me sad.
     
  14. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    To clarify, emergency or major surgeries like that get pushed to the front of the line in Canada and Sweden (can't speak for other countries). That's part of the reason why less urgent surgeries have longer waits; i.e. my ex had to have knee surgery and was told she'd have to wait 16 months, but my mother-in-law, who had cancer, got immediate treatment. Just my experience...
     
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Two points about ERs and ER wait times.

    1) Years ago, when my children were small, two of them suffered from a genetic immune deficiency which necessitated many hospital stays, many doctor visits and many ER visits. They learned the system very early on. One day while sitting in the waiting room the youngest one said to me, "I don't mind waiting, Mom. It means I'm not very sick and I probably won't have to stay."

    Words of wisdom from a small person with a lot of experience. They learned that the sicker they were, the faster they got seen and the more likelihood there was that they would be admitted.

    It's not a bad way to look at it the next time you're sitting in the waiting room.

    2) A goodly percentage of people in the ER are not there because they decided to come it - they're there because their doctor told them to be there. Some doctors, upon getting a phone call from a patient, decide that the patient might need blood work, or a CT, or an X-ray - rather than have them come into the office and then have to send them to a hospital for testing they simply eliminate themselves from the progression and jump from A to C. Sometimes it's warranted, sometimes it is not. It was not uncommon to have a doctor call in orders to our ER before the patient even got there. Bad thing is, the ER still has to find room for the patient, the ER staff still has to care for the patient and the ER doctor still has to see the patient unless the personal physician promises to come in and see the patient himself within an hour or so. Most personal physicians do not do so.

    There are some doctors so bad about it that they do not have answering services or take phone calls from patients. I knew of some doctors, mostly pediatricians, who had the following message on their answering machines. "Hello, you have reached Dr. Noncaring. We are not in the office at the present time. If your child is sick, please take him or her to the Emergency at Smithtown General and tell them that Dr. Noncaring sent you. Thank you."

    I cannot tell you how many kids could have been given tylenol or benedryl for their fever or their discomfort and simply stayed home had the doctor bothered to take the call from the parent in the first place.

    ERs are staffed, for the most part, with highly skilled, highly motivated, highly dedicated doctors, nurses, techs and secretaries - they work as hard and as fast as they can to assure that everyone gets the care they need as quickly as possible.

    That doesn't mean there are not wait times or that there will never be wait times. The very word "Emergency" dictates that there will be. They are unscheduled, unanticipated and sometimes they all happen at the same time.

    And the next time you're there and cooling in the waiting room, take heart and console yourself with the thought that if you're waiting, someone with a lot more knowledge than yourself has triaged you and is quite confident that not only are you not dying right now but that you are not in any danger of dying any time in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  16. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    Relax MrsP....my post was just bait waiting for someone to take a bite.

     
  17. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think it depends how effective health care reform is. When I lived in Denmark, I once had to go to the emergency room and the wait was 15 minutes, and that's socialized medicine. Among the main ideas of health care reform are to streamline administrative procedures, to create best practices of care, to avoid duplication of efforts, and to increase the use of preventative medicine. The expectation is that this will improve overall health care and allow resources to be used in more intelligent ways. Also, it's worth noting that people without insurance use emergency rooms today. If you have a broken ankle, you go to the ER whether or not you can pay.
     

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