According to Adams, overuse of emergency rooms costs $38 billion a year annually. A 2013 study from the state Department of Health found that only about 17 percent of emergency room visits result in inpatient admission.
“So by the time you go to access health care, if it’s a minor or major issue, the first thing you think or is to go to the emergency room,” said Adams. “We want to stop that.”
According to Adams, in the city the average wait time at an urgent care center is under an hour, while at emergency rooms it’s nearly five hours.
“They could have found alternative non-emergency care and would have been in an urgent care center and out without a problem,” Adams said. “Instead they have to spend countless hours dealing with the emergency room.”
As outlined by the outreach campaign, some common non-emergencies include allergies, ear and eye irritation, fever without rash, mild fractures and shallow cuts.
Breathing pain, broken bones, chest pain or cuts with heavy bleeding were all classified as needing emergency room care or 911.
Adams unveiled the campaign outside Brookdale Urgent Care Center on Monday
According to Robert Hayes, president and CEO of Community Healthcare Network, they turn no patients away, regardless of insurance or immigration status.
“A community health care center can provide urgently needed care on a walk-in basis, and then provide follow up to keep its patients healthy,” said Hayes.
A released study by the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals found that if the Affordable Care Act is ultimately repealed, hospitals across the country will lose an estimated $166 billion in Medicaid payments over the next decade.
Adams thinks addressing the overuse of the emergency room could cut costs and put money back into the healthcare system.
“Our healthcare system is on triage, and if we don’t deal with the most urgent cares first we’re going to put the entire system in an emergency state of disrepair,” Adams said.