There’s a war being waged on one of America’s most revered institutions, the emergency room. The ER, or emergency department (ED for the sake of this post) has been the subject of at least a dozen prime-time TV shows.
What’s not to love about a place where both Doogie Houser and George Clooney worked?
Every new parent in the world knows three different ways to get to the closest ED. It’s the place we all know we can go, no matter what, when we are feeling our worst. And yet, we’re not supposed to go there. Unless we are. But you know, don’t really go.
Somehow, we’ve turned the ED into this sacrosanct place where arriving by ambulance is OK, and all others are deemed worthy based on their insurance rather than acuity. If you think I’m wrong, ask any ED director if they want to lose 25% of their Blue Cross Blue Shield volume.
But its true. I hear ED physicians openly express disappointment in people who came into the ED and shouldn’t have.
It’s just a stomach bug, you shouldn’t be here for this. Or, it’s not my job to fill your prescriptions.