The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) responded to my recent blog post “American College of Emergency Physicians Attacks Urgent Care” with a vigorous rebuttal.
ACEP has attacked my editorial anonymously, stating “this blog post is a deliberate misreading of both the TIME article and ACEP’s position. ACEP never attacked urgent care centers or said anything about them.”I would absolutely agree that urgent care was not mentioned, and this is exactly the problem. As I stated in my reply to ACEP (click the link above and scroll down to the comments), ignoring urgent care in the conversation is an “attack” by omission, much the same as having a polite discussion in your living room but ignoring the elephant sitting in the corner sipping tea. Additionally, I find it interesting that the TIME editorial notes the “marginal cost” of seeing patients for minor problems in the ER, but the anonymous ACEP representative admits in his/her comments that ER “individual [patient] bills are high.” The ACEP representative goes on to defend these hefty bills by saying they help cover the cost of treating patients who don’t pay their ER bills.So is ACEP saying it’s acceptable to make other patients responsible for these unpaid bills? Why not reduce the cost of staffing ERs by directing unnecessary visits to a place designed specifically to handle non-emergency injuries and illnesses: an urgent care clinic?
It’s preposterous that ACEP is not educating the public on ALL of their options, whether it is primary care, the ER, or an urgent care clinic. It’s an absolute disservice to the public to insinuate that after-hours illnesses or injuries that are not life-threatening require a long and costly visit to the ER or a wait until the patient’s primary care physician’s office is open.
But don’t just take my word for it – I encourage you to read the TIME Magazine editorial, as well as my editorial (linked above), and judge for yourself.