AUSTIN, Texas – Just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others, according to a report. The patients went to hospital emergency rooms 2,678 times from 2003 through 2008, said the report from the nonprofit Integrated Care Collaboration, a group of health care providers who care for low-income and uninsured patients.Ridiculous. Unless we were to turn people away at emergency rooms (which we should not), under the current health care system, this will keep happening. The system is broken.
Some simple math: this care cost an average of $55,556 per person per year, on the public dime. These nine patients were each going an average of once per week. There has got to be a way to provide better care to these nine and the thousands upon thousands they represent nationwide in a way that would be more cost effective and cheaper to the taxpayer. I'm not dumb enough to suggest I know what the solution is, but we can't afford the status quo.