Dr. Eric Forsthoefel warns that health insurance companies are pushing to make more of a profit at the expense of the average American. These health insurance companies are fed up with paying for non-urgent care that is received in the emergency room. About one-third of Americans have used the emergency room for non-emergency situations and that costs health insurance companies quite a bit of money.
So large health insurance companies are starting to cut off funding for those seeking non-urgent care at the emergency room. Dr. Eric Forsthoefel warns that this could have disastrous effects and he believes that the problem is much more complicated.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is an emergency room physician in Tallahassee, Florida. He deals with the problem of non-urgent patients attending the emergency room on a near-daily basis. He welcomes these patients with open arms and always gives them the best treatment possible. He also orders his nurses and the supporting staff to treat everybody equally no matter how serious their injury or illness.
But the sheer number of people using the emergency room for non-emergency needs has caused problems in his emergency room. He and his staff only have so much attention to give at any given moment. Their focus is obscured by people with non-emergency situations while those with more emergent needs may suffer. He believes the influx of Americans coming into the emergency room for non-urgent care will eventually cause major problems.
But the doctor would like to fight the idea that the emergency room is full of low-income Americans. He points to the fact that 80% of people using the emergency room for non-urgent care have health insurance. He also points to a study where high-income citizens are more likely to use the emergency room to receive primary care.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel has a very practical answer to this problem. He believes primary care physician availability is the problem due to the fact that 80% of the people crowding the emergency room for non-urgent needs have health insurance and are not considered low-income. These people are using the emergency room to receive primary care simply because they do not want to go through the rigmarole of setting up an appointment with their primary physicians.
Many primary physicians are difficult to pin down. Many require at least a 24 hours notice to set up an appointment and others are booked out for weeks straight. This leads many Americans to use the emergency room for a variety of needs due to convenience. Dr. Eric Forsthoefel believes that emergency rooms will become much more effective if primary care physicians become more available and hold evening hours. But he is always holding his emergency room’s door open.