Sadly, no. We were hoping they have well-funded HSAs or high-deductible plans (say at about the $1 million level), but of course that’s not the case. The Associated Press reports that just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin, Texas area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others. Want an answer to the trend in rising health care expenditures? This is one big answer.
The patients went to hospital emergency rooms 2,678 times from 2003 through 2008 (yet there are only 1,825 days in that time period), said a report from the nonprofit Integrated Care Collaboration, a group of health care providers who care for low-income and uninsured patients.
“What we’re really trying to do is find out who’s using our emergency rooms … and find solutions,” Ann Kitchen, executive director of the group, told the wire service. Yeah, it seems just nine people are using them. We hear so much about the rising cost of health care, but it’s irresponsible health care utilization, for which we’re all responsible, which is the main culprit.
Granted, eight of the nine patients have drug abuse problems, seven were diagnosed with mental health issues and three were homeless, so we’d like to offer sympathy; but 2,700 visits? C’mon ….
“It’s a pretty significant issue,” said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, chief of the emergency department at University Medical Center at Brackenridge, which has the busiest ERs in the area.
Solutions include referring some frequent users to mental health programs or primary care doctors for future care, Ziebell told the AP.