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Study: More hospital patients being admitted through the ED

May 20, 2013

Hospital admissions from the emergency department increased 17% between 2003 and 2009, while admissions from doctors’ offices and other outpatient settings declined 10%, according to a report released today by Rand Corp. EDs are disproportionately used by low-income and uninsured patients who cannot reliably get care in other settings, according to the report. For example, physicians who staff hospital EDs provide two-thirds of all acute care provided to the uninsured, and about 55% of emergency services are uncompensated. Although the number of non-elective ED admissions increased substantially over the past decade, inpatient admissions of ED patients with “potentially preventable admissions” remained flat over the period, suggesting that EDs may play a constructive role in constraining the growth of inpatient admissions, the authors said.