ER visits still rising despite ACA

Patient emergency room visits rose sharply at hospitals with the highest ER use in 2013, the last year before the Affordable Care Act's insurance expansion kicked in, according to Modern Healthcare magazine's latest By The Numbers. 

And many of the hospitals with the busiest ERs in 2013 are reporting even higher volumes in 2014 despite the nation's declining uninsured rate.

“We're seeing a failure of access to care,” said Dr. Howard Mell, a practicing ER physician in northeast Ohio and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Millions of Americans now have medical coverage, but because primary-care doctors are closing their offices and not accepting Medicare patients, even mild health crises are being pointed toward the ER, Mell said. “Obamacare isn't failing, but we knew it wouldn't handle ER visits,” he said. 

The nation's 24 busiest emergency rooms reported 18.7% more visits in 2013 over 2012, according to data supplied by the American Hospital Association for the By The Numbers list. And it appears that number will continue to rise in 2014.

Go to top