Quote from DoGoodThenGo
"She was running after her older brother Luke to give him a kiss, and she fell and got a cut right underneath her eye," says her mother, Allison. Maggie, now 4, needed two stitches. Her mother is glad the family had insurance to cover the costly emergency visit her pediatrician's office recommended.
I bolded that line because it illustrates why so many insured people use the ER. Why couldn't the MD's office do the stitches? What about steri-stips?
I spent 2 years as an ER volunteer in Boston. My shift was in the morning, during the week. A lot of people who came in for x-rays, MRIs, or various tests were sent by their MD's office. Forget about an office visit outside of 9-5 Monday-Friday. Boston had no urgent care centers at the time, and community health centers had very narrow windows for walk-in patients. The ER is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ten years ago, I fell down some stairs and sprained my left foot. It was a Tuesday morning, I had insurance, and I was very surprised when my MD sent me to the ER for x-rays. Three years ago, I almost had to go to the ER for a strep test: I was between MDs, and going to a community center during their 1-hour walk-in period meant missing work, which I couldn't afford.
If MDs didn't send non-emergency patients to the ER for care, and offices were open after 5 and on weekends, fewer non-emergency patients would go to the ER.