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Study Finds Most Emergency Room Visits Are Valid

Consumers are almost always justified in visiting the emergency room despite recent cutbacks from insurers.

A new study from the University of California at San Francisco has found that only 3.3 percent of ER visits are considered avoidable, Axios reports.

The study found 3 major conclusions:

The definition of "avoidable" is what splits most parties. And determining a visit is avoidable after it happens may ignore symptoms that appear to be urgent at the time.

It's difficult for an average person to know what an emergency is. And if it's after hours, most things seem like an emergency.

Investing more in preventive measures like dental or mental health (or dealing with exorbitant provider prices) could alleviate many concerns.

Toothaches, back pain, and headaches were found to be the most common avoidable visits.

The study comes after announcements that Anthem will cut back its emergency room coverage in some states. Consumers for Quality care has issued a statement in opposition to the insurer’s policy change.

The study’s findings echo what many of the policy’s critics have voiced:

[T]he study suggests that most ER visits are valid, and that retrospectively penalizing patients could complicate the issue.

Laura Burke, a physician who was not a part of the study, agrees with its findings:

"Sore throats and runny noses are not bogging down our system…”


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