If just 10 common, low-acuity conditions had been treated somewhere other than the emergency room, the health system in New York could have saved $1.3 billion, according to state Department of Health claims data analyzed by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. That analysis takes into account 6.4 million ED visits—more than 2 million of which were deemed suitable for treatment in an urgent care center, primary care office, or via telemedicine—for “bumps and bruises,” joint aches, ear aches, headaches, sprains, strains, and sore throats. It assumes that each of the potentially unnecessary ED visits cost 3.5 times the cost of an urgent care center visit. While the data are specific to New York, they’re ammunition for making the case that urgent care is one part of the solution to runaway healthcare costs across the country.

Potentially Avoidable ED Visits Cost Over $1.3 Billion—in New York Alone
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