WASHINGTON, July 8, 2014 / PR Newswire / — “We are all a heartbeat away from needing emergency care” is one of key messages of the Saving Millions campaign of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), highlighting the incredible value of emergency medicine to every community and the efficiency and economic benefits of medical care provided in the nation’s emergency departments.http://www.acep.org/savingmillions.
“Emergency physicians are critical to our communities,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, president of ACEP. “America’s emergency physicians save more than lives. We are dedicated specialists who can mobilize resources and coordinate care for our patients. And we have special hours — all day, all night and all year.”
The campaign also highlights the critical role that emergency physicians can play in reducing health care costs. Hospital admissions from the ER increased by 17 percent over seven years, according to a 2013 RAND study.
“Emergency physicians are key decisionmakers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, said Dr. Rosenau. “This is key to reducing costs, because hospital inpatient care is a key driver of health care costs, accounting for 31 percent of the nation’s health care expenses.”
Despite health care reform’s focus on reducing emergency visits, a recent poll of emergency physicians found that near half of emergency physicians reported seeing a rise in emergency visits since January 1 when the Affordable Care Act began to take effect. Nine in 10 emergency physicians said they expected visits to increase over the next three years. Reasons for this include an increase in patients newly insured by Medicaid combined with a severe shortage of primary care physicians across the country. Because Medicaid reimbursement levels are so low, Medicaid patients often have difficulty getting appointments with physicians.
“As the nation implements health care reform, emergency physicians have a unique view on the entire medical care system,” said Dr. Rosenau. “We treat everyone from babies to seniors, and we see the full spectrum of medical problems that exist. We also know where the gaps in the medical care system are and have ideas about how to plug them.”
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.