Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Family Medicine Activist: Too Many ER Visits- DUH!!

The headlines of the Dayton Daily News yesterday bemoaned that there are too many ER visits- nationwide and in Ohio.  A full page story essentially said that people are baffled as to why this is occurring.  Why are there so many ER visits?  I say DUH!

There is a HUGE shortage of Family Physicians in the Dayton area, in Ohio and in America.  The biggest Family Medicine training center in Dayton, OH - St. Elizabeth Hospital- closed over ten years age along with their 12 Family Physician per year pipeline of highly skilled Family Physicians for the Dayton area and beyond.  AND both local health networks (aka, hospital chains) closed their Family Medicine training centers in their respective flagship hospital (Miami Valley Hospital and Kettering Memorial Hospital) in the last three years.  Why are there so many ER visits?  DUH!

Only 8.4% of US medical school seniors chose Family Medicine this year -an increase from previous years.  We need at least 30% of students to select Family Medicine (the only remaining primary care workforce pipeline is FM due to dramatic reductions in internal medicine and pediatric primary care careers chosen by trainees in those specialties).  Will it happen?  Is NEVER too strong of a word?  Why are there so many ER visits?  DUH!

If you don't train Family Physicians somewhere, you will increase ER visits.  Welcome to supply and demand-health care system style.  If you don't supply Family Physicians, people won't use them.  Then you get 60% more ER visits, 45% more admissions and someone is happy.  Not the government or the employer of those people needlessly going to the ER or being admitted to the hospital.  They are being bankrupted by a non-system of health care that isn't going to change without outside influence.  What is that influence?  DUH!

It's YOU!  It's ME!  It's US! DUH!

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