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Health-Care Wastefulness is Patients' Responsibility Too

Health-care wastefulness has been detailed in many studies. But it's not just healthcare that needs to change, but patients' habits. Why are 28% of medical appointments done in emergency rooms? Emergency rooms are for emergencies.

Yes, I know people go to ERs for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they can't be turned away if they don't have insurance. And until we do have healthcare for all, this will not change, but if you have health insurance, there is absolutely no reason to go to an emergency room unless it is an emergency.

I know I have options if I need to see a doctor. I can call my doctor's office and ask for a same-day appointment. If my doctor can't see me herself, there will be a designated doctor for same-day appointments who can. Then my hospital also has a walk-in clinic for nonurgent care that I can go to. Finally, in the next town, there is a walk-in clinic if I am desperate. But if there is an emergency, such as a ruptured ovarian cyst (been there, twice), I can go to the ER.

My point, and I need to have a point, is if you have medical insurance, you should know your options for getting quick and appropriate medical care when you need it. As patients, we have just as much responsibility for reforming health care as politicians do.

In the meantime there is a possibility that I overdid things yesterday. I attempted to be a normal human being. My back hates me. But that's another story for another day.


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