UCSF study: ER myths exploded

April 4, 2006

A University of California-San Francisco study suggests, contrary to popular belief, emergency rooms treat insured and non-insured people equally.

Popular opinion holds that people who frequent emergency rooms are there because they lack insurance. But the UCSF study says that is largely a myth. Researchers report they determined most patients making frequent emergency room visits are insured and have a regular source of healthcare, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The study determined that, given the variety of serious illnesses low-income patients suffer, it is not inappropriate for them to also seek emergency room treatment.

"In many cases, the emergency department is exactly the right place for them to be," said Dr. Ellen Weber, one of the study's authors.

The research is detailed in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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