Hsia and her colleagues looked at ER closure data from the American Hospital Association from 1990 to 2009. The research team then compared that data with Medicare reports, which detailed hospitals’ financial information, as well as insurance status of patients.
The study found that over these two decades there was a 27 percent decrease in the number of emergency rooms in U.S. cities, going from 2,446 ERs in 1990 to 1,770 in 2009. Over 1,000 ERs were shut down during the 20 year period, while less than 400 new emergency departments opened.
Hsia’s study also revealed that the number of ER visits in the U.S. jumped by 35 percent over the past two decades, despite the number of closures. This means that while more people required emergency medical treatment, there were fewer and fewer emergency departments to treat them, resulting in overcrowding in available ERs and longer wait times for medical attention.
Emergency department closures can cause significantly longer wait times at other ERs for patients waiting to be seen by a doctor. Many patients in need of immediate medical attention experience a delay because of ER and hospital overcrowding, which increases their risk of serious harm or death. If you or a loved one was seriously hurt or died as a result of a hospital’s failure to provide appropriate treatment, call the injury attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. today for a free consultation. We have helped clients with Brooklyn hospital malpractice, Bronx hospital malpractice, Queens hospital malpractice, Manhattan hospital malpractice and Long Island hospital malpractice fight for the justice they deserve.
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