Study: Overuse of ERs a growing problem

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Story Updated: May 25, 2010

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A recent Excellus Blue Cross-Blue Shield study found that an alarming number of people are using local emergency rooms for minor problems.

The study found that in the Utica-Rome-North Country region, 46% of ER visits were considered potentially unnecessary.

Dr. Frank Dubeck, Director of Medical Policy for Excellus, says that ER overuse can present many problems.

"If you need real emergency care, the faster they get to you, the better," Dr. Dubeck said. "The more they're choked up with routine stuff, the more of a delay getting to you. The other thing is that ERs get filled up with routine stuff, they go on bypass, which means your ambulance, instead of taking you to the closest ER, might end up taking you further away."

Dubeck said that some of the reasons for ER overuse are lack of insurance, and shortage of primary doctors, just to name a few.

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cnycompguy said on Monday, Jun 14 at 11:09 PM

Could you name me one doctor who's actually taking office visits on the weekends? I've taken my kid in for these "unnecessary" ER visits, at the direction of my family doctor on weekends when she returns our call.

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