by Liv Osby, Asheville Citizen-Times, May 26, 2015.
Visits to hospital emergency rooms are on the rise in the Carolinas and around the country, with experts pointing to the physician shortage and Obamacare as possible reasons.
One in five Americans goes to the ER at least once a year, according to RAND Corp., an independent, nonprofit think tank.
Nationwide, three quarters of ER doctors said that patient volumes increased in the past year, according to a new survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians.
It’s clear that emergency rooms are getting busier despite the growth in urgent care centers and efforts to reduce the number of unnecessary ER visits.
What’s not so clear is why.
Nearly three in 10 ER doctors in the survey said visits have increased significantly since the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, took effect.
More than half also said the number of Medicaid patients being seen in the ER has grown, according to the report released this month.