Unexpected death sometimes occurs after a visit to the ER when the patient receives health coverage from Medicare. You may want to think about the results of a recent study.
“Early Death After Discharge From Emergency Departments,” looked at what happens when a Medicare patient (average age 69) goes to a hospital ER. When the hospital has a low rate of admissions there is a higher rate of unexpected deaths within 7 days after discharge. (LVMC has a low rate of admission.)
Near 3% Unexpected Death Rate For ERs At Hospitals With Low Admissions:
After discharge from the ER there is a near 3% (0.27) chance of an unexpected death at a hospital with low admissions. That death rate is 3.4 times greater than hospitals with a high rate of admissions.
The near 3% death rate is even more concerning explains Ziad Obermeyer, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School. He says “Hospitals with higher admission rates see sicker patients.” This suggests there are serious problems in low admission hospitals that cause the unexpected deaths.
About 50% Of Lompoc Residents Already Go To Hospitals Elsewhere:
In Lompoc, about 50% of Lompoc residents already make the choice to leave Lompoc and go to a hospital elsewhere. One of the reasons may be a concern that risks are greater at LVMC. This study suggests that there is a good reason to be concerned about an unexpected death when you go to an ER in a low-admission hospital here or elsewhere.
Unexpected Death Study Based On Healthy Patients Experience:
The study reviewed data on care for about 16 million Medicare beneficiaries between 2007 and 2012. The study only included healthy patient outcomes. The study excluded patients with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses or those in nursing homes.
For Every 100 Persons There Will Be 43.3 Visits To The ER:
The National Center for Health Statistics indicates that going to the ER is quite common. There are 43 ER visits for every 100 persons. (View National Center for Health Statistics website.)
- Number of visits: 136.9 million
- Number of injury-related visits: 39.0 million
- Number of visits per 100 persons: 43.3
- Number of emergency department visits resulting in hospital admission: 12.3 million
- Number of emergency department visits resulting in admission to critical care unit: 1.5 million
- Percent of visits with patients seen in fewer than 15 minutes: 35.4%
- Percent of visits resulting in hospital admission: 9.0%
- Percent of visits resulting in transfer to a different (psychiatric or other) hospital: 2.2%
The likelihood of having to visit an ER is significant over time. It makes good sense to be aware of the risks at nearby hospitals.