ERS our ‘last best hope’

Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS / EDITORIALS -

The cover story “One-stop shop for care” (May 27, p. 6) re­flects a grow­ing trend in com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals. Our hos­pi­tal is also con­fronting a fun­da­men­tal prob­lem of emer­gency rooms be­com­ing a reser­voir for pa­tients who find it in­creas­ingly more dif­fi­cult to find pri­mary-care ac­cess and/or are un­able to af­ford the long Amer­i­can tra­di­tion of a fam­ily prac­tice physi­cian.

This trend will only in­crease as eco­nomic de­mands make the hos­pi­tal emer­gency room the last so­cial safety net in car­ing for pa­tients in com­mu­ni­ties across Amer­ica. Along with the ris­ing tide of men­tal health is­sues, so­cial vi­o­lence, an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and in­creas­ing num­bers of unin­sured, the com­mu­nity emer­gency depart­ment has be­come so­ci­ety’s last best hope.

Ed Piper Pres­i­dent and CEO Onslow Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal Jack­sonville, N.C.

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