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San Diego Emergency Rooms Feeling Strain From Overuse

Photo caption:

Photo credit: KOMUnews / flickr

A hospital emergency department sign is shown, Nov. 11, 2011.

San Diego Emergency Rooms Feeling Strain From Overuse

GUEST:

Dimitrious Alexiou, president, Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties

Transcript

Over the last decade, more than half of the visits to San Diego emergency departments have been for non-emergencies.

That's the word from local health officials, who recommend that San Diegans go to an emergency room only if they're suffering an urgent crisis.

Officials say emergency department overuse can lead to overcrowding and longer wait times.

“Our most successful public advocacy campaign in a larger sense was call 911 when you have an emergency,” Dimitrious Alexiou, president of the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, said Monday on KPBS Midday Edition.

Alexiou said coverage expansion through the Affordable Care Act and Medi-Cal may be behind the problem.

“There's a lot more people who now have coverage who previously didn't,” Alexiou said. “And ultimately with that comes some education that needs to be done in terms of where they should be accessing care at the appropriate settings.”

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