Visits to the ER on the rise; national trend

GREENVILLE, NC (WCNT)- In the last year Vidant’s Emergency Room visits have slightly increased and the reason may be a surprise.

The number of insured people in America is on the rise. Last year, during the month of November, nearly 2 million people signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Despite the increase, people are still using the Emergency Department.

Emergency Department doctor Timothy Reeder says one in five Americans visit the Emergency Department every year.

At Vidant Medical Center, the number of visits is up 5,000 from 2014. Dr. Reeder says those numbers can be seen nationwide.

“Trends here are what we see nationally, we know that the demand for emergency services go up and up and up every year,” Dr. Reeder said.

Health professionals say there are a lot of things that contribute to the uptick.

Dr. Reeder said, “The biggest one is just the population growth, when there’s more people there is going to be more patients.”

“We still have a large population that is uninsured because of lack of Medicaid expansion,” Director of Health Access at the Brody School of Medicine said. “Population that has become newly insured has habits that they have built up over years and decades of going to the emergency department.”

Experts say there isn’t one solution. Delia says the more people insured the better. He also says Medicaid expansion is proven to help.

“Those states that did expand Medicaid, the use of hospitals has actually decreased while in those states that did not expand Medicaid, the use of hospitals continues on the upturn,” Delia said.

Delia says the United States is in the middle of a transition period when it comes to the way healthcare is provided and received. He says we’re in the early stages and it will take time for things to change.

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