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More than one insurer has tried to dissuade plan members from going to the emergency room by threatening to stick them with the bill if their visit proves (after the fact) to have been nonemergent. The urgent care industry has also put a good deal of effort into trying to educate the public as to when they really need to be in the ED and when it makes more sense, both logistically and economically, to visit urgent care. So, it may come as a surprise that new data from the Health Care Cost Institute show that spending on ED costs continues to rise. The report reveals that ED visit spending per person increased 99% from 2009 through 2016. Spending more than doubled for higher-acuity visits, which would not necessarily be appropriate for treatment in the urgent care setting. One essential consideration is that the average prices for higher-severity codes also went up more than 100% over the 7 years covered in the study. This is especially telling if you consider the fact that overall ED use remained stable, though ED use for higher-severity visits did increase 38%.

Despite ‘Corrective’ Measures, ED Spending Keeps Going Up—Along with Prices
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