Emergency Department Use in New York City: A Substitute for Primary Care?
For the uninsured and many low-income people, hospital emergency departments (EDs) are a crucial entryway to the health care system. New York City's uninsured-27 percent of the nonelderly population in 1998, up from 20 percent in 1990-rely heavily on the ED for their medical care. Residents who regularly get their health care at an ED do not have regular doctors or continuity in their care, use costlier services, and often receive treatment that could have been avoided. Low-income New Yorkers may be depending on emergency department care even more as Medicaid enrollment declines and physician reimbursement rates are cut. This Issue Brief describes patterns of ED use throughout
New York City and discusses some of the ways to improve the availability of primary care services and reduce ED dependency.