Monday, September 28, 2015

Just how expensive are Emergency Room visits ?

Was reading a piece in the Journal about emergency room vists, and how expensive they are, and it's really too bad that so many people go to the ER when they feel ill.  It went on to say that as long as the emergency room is the only 24/7 medical facility, they are gonna get a lot of business.
  Been thinking about that.  Just how expensive is an emergency room visit, really?  Wanna bet the hospital takes the total cost of running an emergency room divided by the number of patients served?  Which is a cute statistic but it doesn't mean anything.  Like if zero patients came in the cost per visit is infinite?  If a zillion people came in the cost goes to zilch? 
   In actual fact, it costs money to run an emergency room whether anyone uses it or not.  The true cost when someone comes in, waits two hours, and leaves with a prescription for Amoxicillin, is pretty close to zilch.  particularly when the ER people spend most of their time doing paperwork about the visit rather than diagnosing and treating the patient.
   Accounting is important in any real business.  Accurate accounting tells management where the money is going to and coming from,  which management needs to know if it is going to work on reducing out go and increasing income.   Ideally the doctors and nurses would  fill out time cards, charging their time to each patient served.  Today they could use an app on their smart phones, just swipe the patient's wrist band against the phone and punch "start".  Punch "done" as they leave the patient's bedside. 

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