Emergency Rooms for the Elderly, and Other Links

Hospitals designing senior ERs. Patients can receive warm blankets, a pair of reading glasses or even large-print crosswords. Discharge instructions are in large print.

The two million most expensive hospital stays (5 percent in total) charge as high as $18,000 a day; with average stays of almost three weeks.

Why do ER physicians have to provide care, regardless of ability pay, while an individual surgeon or specialist cannot be compelled to operate on or treat a patient in need of surgery? One doctor says this is an unjustified double standard.

Comments (6)

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  1. Ken says:

    The only way hospitals are going to survive under Obama Care is to segregate seniors from nonseniors and provide inferior (less costly) care to the seniors. Initially the seniors may think they are getting better care. Eventually it will become clear that they are not.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    The Emergency Room physician is correct that EMTALA creates perverse incentives that harm both doctors and patients. It needs to be revised to allow more flexibility.

  3. Greg says:

    I agree with Ken. Once the seniors are segregated, the quality is likely to slide as Medicare ratchets down the payment rates.

  4. Stephen C. says:

    The third item asks an interesting question. Why are physicians (and for that matter, hospitals) required to provide emergency room care, while they are not required to do other surgery — even if it is life saving? The answer is not obvious.

  5. artk says:

    Is that true? If you present yourself at an emergency room and you have to be admitted for surgery, don’t you get admitted and have the surgery, with or without money, with or without insurance.

  6. Greg says:

    I think if you come through the emergency room, the hospital has to treat you until you are stabilized. But if you are in danger of dying of heart disease, doctors and hospitals do not have to perform bypass surgery or all the other surginal invasions at their disposal.