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Report: More People Choose the Emergency Room

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More and more people are turning to the emergency room for medical care, up 32 percent from a decade ago, according to a new report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Stephen Pitts was the lead author of the new report. He says new data shows that E.R. wait times have risen, to about an hour — and half the people who are admitted for a longer hospital stay came from the E.R.

PITTS: So the E.R. has become the front door. Just 10 years ago that 50 percent was 36 percent so it's become, there's been a 38 percent rise in the proportion of people that got there through the E.R.

REPORTER: Pitts says one reason may be doctors readiness to send people to the E.R. and its state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. The increasing reliance on the E.R. has come as the number of emergency rooms around the country has declined.

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