We watch the medical shows on the television, Hopkins, Rescue Me, ER, and think of the lives they are saving--maybe we ought to think about the lives that we are ruining. It would be an eye-opener if they had a running tab on-screen of the cost of treatment.
We have those who are brought in by EMS, which decline treatment from the start, who didn't want to go to the hospital, but were told they just needed to be "checked out."
Some patients see the back-up in the waiting area and don't want to wait. (Now, if it was serious enough to come to the ER, wouldn't you think that waiting wouldn't be the issue???)
And some that get a sense of the costs when they enter--when the Dr orders a battery of tests, sees the costs mounting and their savings dwindling.
The average cost of an ER visit, nationally, is $1,000.
Sure we have the regulars, those that appear on the ER doorstep at the faintest indication of discomfort. They are the ones that have virtually no out-of-pocket expense, whether from assignment or self-pay (generally no-pay).
The Austin Statesman ran an article about ER abuse, 9 people used the ER 2,678 times in a 6 year period. Costs: approximately $3 million. They either had very good insurance, or the hospital was getting hosed. If it was like Parkland, then the whole county paid for it. If it was like the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, then the shortfalls cause closure of services.
So, where does that leave us? With $75 aspirin. With $200 walk-in-the-door charges. To make up for the shortfalls. And that's why people leave AMA.