The MI GOP guy advising people to not take their kids to the ER right away when they have arm fractures is not making a winning argument.
His point is a little more nuanced:
“At some point or another we have to be responsible or have a part of the responsibility of what is going on,” Huizenga said. “Way too often, people pull out their insurance card and they say ‘I don’t know the difference or cost between an X-ray or an MRI or CT Scan.’ I might make a little different decision if I did know (what) some of those costs were and those costs came back to me.”
The father of five offered a personal example of how this shift might play out. He says his youngest son fell and injured his arm. Not sure if it was sprained or broken, he and his wife decided to wait until the next morning to take the 10-year-old to the doctor’s office, instead of going to the emergency room that night. The arm was broken.
“We took every precaution but decided to go in the next morning (because of) the cost difference,” Huizenga said. “If he had been more seriously injured, we would have taken him in. … When it (comes to) those type of things, do you keep your child home from school and take him the next morning to the doctor because of a cold or a flu, versus take him into the emergency room? If you don’t have a cost difference, you’ll make different decisions.”
I've been an emergency responder for 29 years. And I guarantee you: A) most people have no idea what merits a trip to the ER and what doesn't; and B) people who have some skin in the game (and who value on their time) are much less likely to go to the ER.
Also, from the scanty description above, no harm was done by waiting til the next day to visit the MD.
I don't know the %, but ER's are often flooded with people who don't need to be there. That drives up medical costs for those who pay the bills.
My town is the most diverse (seriously) population in the US and immigrants have told me that their sponsors have instructed them to call 911 for anything medical. So emergency responders function as the Family Doc to many immigrants. And, at 2:00 AM, the EMT will most likely send a complainer in to the ER rather than risk a second call at 3:15 AM.
1 - Better education for the general population. And some skin in the game.
2 - ER apps that guide people to appropriate facilities. Or tell them to suck it up & stay home.
3 - Phone apps that can convey basic vital signs to screeners. Then see #2, above.
4 - Empower emergency responders to say, "No," when the patient wants to go to the ER for a finger laceration. Or a low-low speed fender bender. Or for a general bad feeling but good vital signs.