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Transition into adult health care is a rocky road for 20 somethings
Date:3/24/2010

Young adults, a generally healthy population, are increasingly flocking to emergency departments (EDs) instead of outpatient clinics for medical treatment. Young adults remain the most likely age group to lack health insurance and often lose their insurance during this pivotal transition period between adolescence and adulthood.

Young adults receive a significant proportion of their care in the ED nearly twice as much as children and adolescents and nearly three times as much as adults older than 30, according to a recent study. Young adults without insurance or with public insurance were more likely to be treated in the ED than young adults with private insurance.

"Young adults need help navigating the health care system. There are very few resources to help them make the transition from adolescence to adulthood," said Robert J. Fortuna, M.D., M.P.H., principal investigator of the study and a senior instructor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The study's authors focused on the usage of health care among young adults in part because they are the leading age group for many types of risky behavior, as rates of substance abuse, sexually transmitted illnesses, homicide and motor vehicle accidents all peak. As adolescents move into young adulthood, their suicide rate triples and they have considerably higher rates of tobacco use, binge drinking and illicit drug use.

Between 1996 and 2006, young adults' ED visits increased by 5,520,000 visits. By 2006, nearly a quarter (22 percent) of all health care delivered to young adults occurred in the ED. Young adults were more likely to be cared for in the ED for both injury-related and non-injury-related problems.

A disproportionate amount of health care delivered to black young adults in the ED, considerably more than white. Nearly half of all health care provided to young black men (48.5 percent) was delivered in the ED, whic
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Contact: Heather Hare
Heather_Hare@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-2840
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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