Emergency rooms have become quite a different place in 2018; some would argue that these changes are not for the better. As an emergency physician, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is uniquely qualified to speak on the issues he sees on a daily basis. Lately, one of the issues he’s encountered most is that many patients are turning to the ER for routine healthcare issues—problems that could easily be solved during a regular doctor’s appointment. This new phenomenon is causing a chain reaction as well; when patients do not see a regular doctor, they often don’t receive the high level of care that they could if they had a relationship with a general practitioner. Because the resources of emergency rooms are so often stretched these days, doctors and nurses are usually bouncing back and forth between cases as quickly as they can. Emergency rooms, for obvious reasons, were not designed for those suffering from ailments such as the common cold.
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— Eric Forsthoefel (@EForsthoefel) July 20, 2018
Dr. Forsthoefel has served as an outspoken advocate on this issue, pointing out that he realizes that there is a vast array of obstacles to healthcare these days. However, he has also seen how hard emergency room staffs have had to work in order to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the job. He believes that the situation has reached a boiling point, with many real emergency patients not receiving proper care because staffers have been overloaded with non-critical cases.
It’s crucial to note that Dr. Forsthoefel is far from the only physician voicing these opinions. Many emergency doctors across the state of Florida—and the country—have made it known that they are also concerned about the state of emergency room care. It was in 2015 that Blue Cross Anthem was forced to finally confront the issue; they no longer will pay for non-emergency trips to the ER that occur in Missouri and Georgia. After they address several bureaucratic issues, it is believed that they will do the same in Florida. In addition to Anthem, many other insurance companies are considering doing the same.
For emergency physicians like Dr. Eric Forsthoefel, caring for emergency patients is easier and more efficient when beds are not taken up by those who are dealing with health problems that do not require an immediate response. Because patients have not been deterred by the more expensive co-pays often demanded as a result of these visits, it would seem that greater steps needed to be taken in order to ensure that emergency rooms are designated for the people who need them most. With physicians like Dr. Eric Forsthoefel starting to speak out about the situation, many ER staffers are hoping that the tide will start to turn very soon.