Did You Visit an Emergency Room Last Year? If So, You Aren't Alone

Did You Visit an Emergency Room Last Year? If So, You Aren't Alone

May 30, 2013 Updated May 30, 2013 at 3:00 PM EDT

Did you make a trip to the emergency room in the past year? If you did, you aren't alone.

A report released this week by the CDC, one in five Americans reported visiting the emergency room at least one time in the past year.

According to the CDC report:

In 2011, 20 percent of U.S. adults reported at least one emergency room visit in the past year, and 7 percent reported two or more visits, according to Health, United States, 2012, the government’s annual, comprehensive report on American’s health. 

Highlights of this year’s special section on emergency care include:

    During 2001 through 2011, both children under age 18 and adults aged 18–64 with Medicaid coverage were more likely than uninsured Americans and those with private insurance coverage to have at least one emergency room visit in the past year.
    In 2009–2010, cold symptoms were the most common reason for emergency room visits by children (27 percent), and injuries were the most common reason for visits by adults (14 percent.)

    Between 2000 and 2010, 35 percent of emergency room visits included an x-ray, while the use of advanced imaging scans (CT or MRI) increased from 5 percent to 17 percent of visits.

    In 2009–2010, 81 percent of emergency department visits were discharged for follow-up care as needed, 16 percent ended with the patient being admitted to the hospital, 2 percent ended with the patient leaving without completing the visit, and less than 1 percent ended in the patient’s death.

    In 2009–2010, 59 percent of emergency department visits (excluding hospital admissions) included at least one drug prescribed at discharge.

    During 2001-2011, the percentage of persons with at least one emergency department visit in the past year was stable at 20 percent to 22 percent, and the percentage of persons reporting two or more visits was stable at 7 percent to 8 percent.

The 10 Most Common Reasons for an ER Visit

Discovery Health compiled a list of the 10 most common reason for an emergency room visit.

10. Chest pains

9. Abdominal pain

8. Toothaches

7. Sprains and broken bones

6. upper respiratory infections

5. Cuts and contusions

4. Back pain

3. Skin infections

2. Foreign objects in the body

1. Headaches


Study: More than two-thirds of ER visits avoidable

According to a story posted on Employee Benefit News, a recent study by Truven Health Analytics finds that more than two-thirds of ER visits by those under age 64 are avoidable.

The EBN story says the study found:

About 72% of emergency room visits made by patients with employer-sponsored insurance coverage are for causes that do not require immediate attention in the emergency room, or are preventable with proper outpatient care: 24% did not require immediate attention; 42% received care that could have safely been provided in a primary care setting; and 6% received care that would have been preventable or avoidable with proper primary care.

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