Saturday, December 13, 2008

No Work Note For You

Tired of being overrun with non-emergent complaints, one Georgia ER has decided to direct the sub-acute population to less expensive options and attempt to "teach people when they should or shouldn't use the emergency room."  To counteract the increasing number of people turning to their local ER as a means of free primary care, Culquitt Regional Medical Center now asks non-emergent patients to prove they have insurance or the ability to pay. 

While something certainly needs to be done to stop people from seeking emergency treatment for toothaches or prescription refills, I'm curious to see how this policy will play out under EMTALA.  It's thanks in part to the unfunded federal mandate that we have so many people seeking free ER care in the first place, but because of EMTALA we can't turn them away.  Will patients be asked about their ability to pay after receiving the medical screening exam?  How long will it take for a lawyer to strike after a patient triaged as non-emergent crashes on their way to the clinic down the street?  It won't take long to find out.

2 comments:

keepbreathing said...

I like the idea of hiring large gentlemen named Vito to inflict emergencies upon patients presenting with non-emergent complaints. Want to use the ER? Fine, but we're going to assign an emergency to you if you don't bring your own.

Second Shift said...

That's it! I'll pass it along to Congress