The size of the bills people receive for emergency care can seem somewhat remote to most of us. It’s easy to resign ourselves to saying, “the patient’s insurance will pay for it,” or “the government will pay for it.” But it is truly hard to witness some of the more egregious cases of price gouging in emergency care and remain detached.
It’s been another busy shift in the ED. You finish discharging one
patient as you are pulling up the x-rays of a 24 year old who rolled his
ankle while playing basketball. You don’t see a fracture and so you go
into the room to tell him the good news that it is only a sprain. As you
finish demonstrating some exercises that he can do to rehabilitate his
ankle, he says, “Hey doc, what you gonna give me for this?”
Studies show that EMS delivers a significant percentage of patients who
will go on to be admitted. Armed with these numbers, we must rethink
diversion, considering its true cost to the hospital.
Q: Does early antibiotic use reduce wound infections in open fractures? read more
Q: Do glucocorticoids prevent return visits, admissions, or need for additional treatment? read more
The Changing Landscape: ED visits have increased by about 3% per year
over 12 years from 369 visits to 451 per 1000 population. The ED
population is aging in line with the demographics of the country, and
EDs need to prepare to meet the needs of seniors.
Parents bring in their daughter because they pulled on her arm, and now
she is not using it. They are thoroughly convinced that the child’s arm
is either broken or dislocated. We all recognize this as radial head
subluxation or “nursemaid’s elbow” and immediately attempt to reduce it.
The provider takes the injured arm, supinates at the wrist and flexes
at the elbow. Does the child scream?
Don’t look back. I’m proud to say that each generation of EM residents
moves to a higher plane of learning than past generations. The depth
and breadth of learning in emergency medicine parallels the
lightning-fast growth of knowledge that characterizes modern medicine.
Keep it up!
In a recent review of the national Get with the Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke regristry in which 58,353 tPA treated patients were analyzed, every 15-minute faster interval to treatment was associated with fewer symptomatic intracerebal hemmorhages, reduced in-hospital mortality, more patients with independent abulation at discharge, and more patients discharged to home.12
Perhaps the surest way to drive someone crazy is to expect them to
understand the rules and regulations related to coverage and payment by
Medicare for hospital inpatient services (Part A), outpatient /
observation services (Part B), and skilled nursing facility (SNF)
services (also Part A).
An 18-month male presents to the ED with left posterior ear swelling for
four days. He was seen in the ED two weeks prior for rhinorrhea and
diarrhea, at which time he was diagnosed with a viral illness. The
patient’s mother reports bloody drainage from the ear for one day, but
denies fever, vomiting, rhinorrhea or cough.