Dr. Eric Forsthoeful is an emergency room doctor in Florida. In 2009, he attended medical school at the University of Louisville. In 2012, he attended Louisiana State University, where he completed his emergency medicine residency. He has been certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine with two medical licenses, one in Louisiana and one in Florida, where he resides and works. He is a highly experienced emergency room physician and takes care of many patients with severe illnesses, traumas, fractures, cardiac ailments, etc.
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In an article about emergency rooms, it portrays how emergency rooms aren’t being used for emergencies; therefore, is becoming a major healthcare problem. An eye-opening survey showed how one-third of emergency room patients have non-urgent conditions. This has been an increasing trend for thirty years, according to a report by the American Journal of Managed Care. Dr. Forsthoeful says the state of Florida is no different. He explained some of the issues as to why this is happening:
- Lack of primary care medicine.
- Want instant care, don’t want appointments, don’t want to wait for days to
see a doctor.
- Like the convenience and want to avoid a primary care provider connection.
- Younger patients and African Americans frequent emergency rooms more often.
- Medicaid patients three times more likely to use an emergency room.
Dr. Forsthoeful explains that even though many patients aren’t emergencies, each patient is taken care of by physicians, nurses, technicians and support staff and given a bed, no matter what. He said it is stressful for emergency room staff, because the critically ill patients need continuous monitoring. It is difficult, and a major undertaking for the staff to be stretched so thin. They have to work harder to maintain an efficient work environment.
Many understand the problems associated with access to healthcare, and those who are working on emergency room problems think if copays and/or deductibles could be changed, patients would not be as likely to go to emergency rooms for basic illnesses. Some insurance companies don’t pay for non-urgent care anymore, but many physicians in emergency rooms don’t approve, because it can be difficult to determine whether an issue is an emergency or not. Doctors don’t like this policy because patients could die if they don’t receive the treatment they need, if it is a true emergency. Some signs of a medical problem may not be critical, but until it’s checked out, the doctor doesn’t know for certain.
Dr. Eric Forsthoeful is working on possible solutions by working with others, conducting surveys and collecting data to determine effective ways to reduce visits. They know there is not an easy solution but have determined that making primary care more convenient, and finding other alternatives for patients, are the best ways to solve the ever-increasing non-urgent visits. They hope that eventually they will see a decrease so emergency room staff can be more efficient and focus on the critically ill patients.