It doesn’t matter how often you remind staff to avoid the ER unless it’s a true emergency, there always seems to be a handful of staffers who still use it for routine care.
And all it takes is a few unnecessary emergency room visits for employers to see a significant spike in their health costs.
Insurance rolls will be flooded
So how does the health reform law factor into your firm’s ER problems? The law is expected to make routine care in the ER much less efficient.
In fact, a recent report by the American College of Emergency Physicians includes a few statistics that may cause employees to think twice before taking a trip to the ER for non-emergent care. Two key stats:
- The health reform law is projected to add almost 25 million individuals to U.S. insurance rolls without any increase to the resources or doctors in place to handle the influx, and
- Federal funding for hospital disaster preparedness has decreased.
Passing along those stats and letting employees know that they’re virtually guaranteed a longer wait time in the ER – especially if they’re there for non-emergent care – should help cut down unnecessary ER visits.
Obviously there are certain situations where the ER is the only option for employees.
But it’s up to benefits pros to make sure all staffers know what constitutes an emergency and what could be taken care of at an urgent care center or by a primary-care physician.
Regular reminders on proper ER usage – with common real-life examples – is always a good idea.
In addition, here are some other tactics that could help lower unnecessary ER usage:
- 24-hour help lines where staffers can get advice via phone, and
- increasing your plan’s fees for unnecessary ER visits.