Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Patients Say the Darndest Things

Pt's Husband: "Boy it's crowded. Bet you guys get a lot of folks without insurance."

SS: "We get a lot of folks with insurance, too. We take everyone."

Pt: "We have insurance, but when we called our doctor he said he couldn't see us so we should just go to the ER."

...And that's the problem. Many people assume that ER overcrowding is driven mainly by patients lacking health insurance who have nowhere else to turn. While we certainly see large numbers of uninsured patients, we also have large numbers of insured patients filling up the waiting room as well.

Whether these patients can't schedule a timely appointment with their own doctor, or simply prefer the ability to show up at the ER whenever they feel like it, I can't say. But as Whitecoat is fond of reminding us, insurance doesn't equal access.

Until the primary care system gets fixed, I'm betting packed waiting rooms and patients lining the hallway won't be going away any time soon.

No comments: