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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 05:45 AM

The Decline of Emergency Care

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/the-decline-of-emergency-care/275306/



Last Monday, two bombs built to take lives exploded in a city that's built to save them. Five Boston hospitals are Level I trauma centers. Three specialize in pediatrics. Each one is ready to treat all aspects of injury. At all times, they have the full roster of emergency services available: the entire spectrum of surgical specialists; respiratory therapists; laboratory services; nurses; and radiologists. They can land helicopters. They can treat burns. And they're ready to support patients through rehabilitation. If you're severely hurt, this is where you want to be. The CDC has found that trauma centers reduce the risk of death by 25 percent.

As of now, every marathon bombing patient treated in a Boston hospital is expected to survive. This is to the credit of medical tent staff and first responders, volunteers with make-shift tourniquets, and physicians who ran the race, only to run back, jump barricades, and try to save lives. Because of their courage, and the communications systems between hospitals, mass casualties arrived at trauma centers within an hour of the blast. Some got there within twenty minutes. This is how an emergency system should work -- in response to a terror attack, or the more than 1,200 trauma cases that each center handles yearly.

But across the country, more and more trauma centers and emergency departments are closing. And they're closing in communities that need them the most.

It isn't that there are fewer emergencies. According to the American Hospital Association, from 1991 to 2010, emergency department visits soared from 88.5 million to 127.2 million. That's an increase of nearly 44 percent. But during this same period, emergency departments closed at a rate of almost 11 percent. We see something similar with trauma centers. Between 1990 and 2005, 339 trauma centers shut their doors. If we know these services work for terror attacks as well as ordinary traumas, such as car crashes, then why are they closing?

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Reply The Decline of Emergency Care (Original post)
xchrom Apr 2013 OP
djean111 Apr 2013 #1
Laelth Apr 2013 #2
KentuckyWoman Apr 2013 #3

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 06:16 AM

1. Money. And the American credo that one does not deserve health care in any way, shape, or form -

 

unless the media is watching, or the care is needed because it involved some sort of extraordinary event - bombing, earthquake, etc.
Everyone came together for the Boston victims, but day-to-day shootings, sick and injured children, etc. - those people have to somehow make it to an open emergency room; the emergency room does not spring into action for them.
Profit is the answer. In a totally Capitalistic society, profit is always the answer.
And the idea that treating people now will make costs down the road go down? File that with the fact that jobless and minimally-waged people will stop buying goods and services. Unregulated Capitalism only looks to the next quarter, unless it wants the Social Security money, for example - then it pretends to care about the future.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:02 AM

2. +1 n/t

-Laelth

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 08:02 AM

3. We've lost 2 hospitals in the last 10 years because they could not overcome the costs in the ER

reimbursement rates are too low in this area so they gave up and folded. With trauma centers the losses are even greater.

The insurance racketeers and the tax laws that let this go on is what is destroying ER and Trauma centers. As more and more people are pushed to pay for insurance with costs so high they still cannot afford to obtain services, they will be pushed into ERs when they are the most expensive to treat.

It's an idiotic system that does not work except to shovel more money to the few who own the majority of insurance stocks.

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