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Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among Adults

A new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics examines the reasons adults under age 65 used the emergency room. Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly 20% of adults use the emergency room at least once each year, a rate that has held steady over the last decade.
  • For those using the ER, 77% visited for the seriousness of a medical problem while 12% went to the ER because the doctor’s office was not open and 7% lacked access to another provider.
  • Adults with Medicaid coverage were more likely to visit than the privately insured or uninsured.
  • Few changes in ER utilization occurred between 2013 and 2014, immediately before and after implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s main health coverage provisions when 7.9 million adults aged 18–64 gained health insurance.

The report includes further analyses by patient age, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance status, and urban or rural residence.

Source: Gindi R and others. Reasons for emergency room use among U.S. adults aged 18-64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014. National Health Statistics Report, no. 90, Feb. 18, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr090.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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