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New Data Say Uninsured Account for Nearly One-Fifth of Emergency Room Visits
Date:7/15/2009

Sebelius Releases New Nationwide Emergency Department Sample Data

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released new data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample -- the largest, all-payer emergency department database in the United States. The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample is designed to help public health experts, policymakers, health care administrators, researchers, journalists and others find the data they need to answer questions about care that occurs in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

These data indicate that uninsured persons accounted for nearly one-fifth of the 120 million hospital-based emergency department visits in 2006. Low-income patients accounted for almost one-third, and residents of rural areas accounted for one-fifth of the visits.

"Our health care system has forced too many uninsured, rural and low-income Americans to depend on the emergency room for the care they need," said Secretary Sebelius. "We cannot wait for reform that gives all Americans the high-quality, affordable care they need and helps prevent illnesses from turning into emergencies."

The database is managed by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and generates national estimates on the number of emergency department visits in all community hospitals, by region, urban/rural location, teaching status, ownership and trauma designation. It also provides in-depth information on acute management of patients for all visits, including why patients were seen in the emergency department, the treatments they received, what happened to them at the end of the visit (admitted to the hospital, discharged home, transferred to another hospital, died in the emergency room or left against medical advice), the charge for their care and who
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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