News Brief

ED volume increasing, most hospitals report

Some 68% of hospitals responding to a recent survey by the Schumacher Group said patient volume in their emergency department (ED) had increased in the past 12 months, with most reporting an increase from 1% to 10%.

Only 18% of respondents said overcrowding had caused them to divert patients to other hospitals, down from 36% in 2001. Seventy-six percent said a lack of coverage by physician specialists had caused them to divert patients, up from 65% who gave that response in 2001.

About 31% of respondents had lost some specialty coverage in the past year, with 33% citing uncompensated care and 26% citing medical liability concerns as factors. About half of respondents said the number of uninsured patients in their ED had increased in the past 12 months, and 77% said their ED was a major provider of primary care for the indigent and uninsured in the community.

The Schumacher Group is an ED management firm. For more information, go to