At an average total cost per visit of $1,900, the emergency department, or ER, is one of the most expensive places to receive medical care.
Despite these high costs, there were nearly 137 million ER visits in 2015.
The emergency department is a critical component in our health care system, and crowding has become a concern among hospitals, policy makers, providers, and payors. Avoidable use among patients with low-acuity problems contributes to long ER wait times and suboptimal care. Avoidable visits cost the system $38 billion a year.
Why People Choose the ER
In a survey, most ER users cited the severity of their medical problem as the primary reason they sought care in the emergency department. However, 7 percent cited lack of access to a primary care provider, and 12 percent went to the ER because their provider’s office was closed.
The Neighborhood Option for Care
Many of the concerns that bring people to a hospital emergency department can be effectively treated in walk-in medical clinics. Earaches, sprains, skin conditions such as rashes or poison ivy, sore throats and infections of the respiratory system or urinary tract can all be treated at MinuteClinic. In fact, MinuteClinic can treat more than 125 different conditions in patients above 18 months of age.
Helping plan members and plans avoid unnecessary ER visits remains a part of CVS Health’s vision for building a better, more affordable health care system. MinuteClinic, with 1,100 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia, offers care seven days a week, including times when many physician offices are closed. Most services at MinuteClinic cost approximately $100. A visit to MinuteClinic — as opposed to an urgent care center or hospital emergency department — costs as much as 90 percent less.
Read the full article at CVS Health Payor Solutions.
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