The Louisville newspaper, Courier Journal, published a decent article on University of Louisville Hospital’s Emergency Department. They layout the problems, seventy five percent increase in admissions to the emergency department since 2006, more than half are uninsured. Have a gander at the article on their web site www.courier-journal.com.
I know that University of Louisville is throwing money at the problem (and looking for a health care partner to throw even more money at the problem), but this is never the solution. We need more Family Physicians in this country. This is rapidly becoming a public health issue, not just an issue over insurance. We need the health officials to look at this from a public health problem and find solutions. Government money is already subsidizing the uninsured’s health care, lets find a way that will allow them better care that can keep them out of the emergency room, unless they have an actual emergency.
The Nurse Practitioner as a sole health care provider is gaining some support in other states. There has also been an increase in the number of Physician Assistants in recent years, still we have no good model of providing health care to the chronically uninsured. Many people without health insurance have chronic illnesses, which then add to the strain of the Ambulance companies in the area. I believe the Community Paramedicine model can help the people, but it needs to be funded as a public health initiative. Many regions have a way to provide funding to the hospitals who treat the uninsured, called an indigent care fund in the article above, so why not put that money to use in preventative medicine?
Insurance companies are not very fond of preventative medicine, it costs them more upfront. Hospitals are also not fond of preventative medicine, they can charge more for treating the symptoms of the disease. If they ever slow the progress of the disease in a large population, they will not have as many surgeries, admissions to the hospital and other costly means of managing symptoms.
Preventative medicine works better, and costs less than constant visits to emergency rooms. The health care leaders (dare I call them leaders) need to change their thought process, they need to start working on preventative medicine, less on the reactive medicine.