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Truth about ER Visits: 2016 Data from CDC

CDC’s 2016 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey reveals the median waiting time to see a physician or other provider in the Emergency Dept. was 17 minutes (see Table 4), a minute shorter than the previous year. Most patients (56%) spent between one and four hours in the Emergency Room (ER). About 58% arrived outside of the M-F 8a to 5p hours. More than half (57%) of ER patients were triaged as semiurgent or urgent when they arrived. (However, when billed at discharge or admitted to the hospital, the overwhelming majority of ER visits are likely to be billed as at least a moderate to high severity. Data not shown in this report.) Percent admitted or transferred to another hospital (including observation stays): 13.5%. Main reasons for an ER visit: stomach and abdominal pain, cramps or spasms; chest pain and fever. Cough and headaches also were common. Of the 45 million injury-related (or poisoning or adverse effects) visits, 23% were for falls – 2.8 times the rate of motor vehicle traffic-related injuries seen in Emergency Rooms. 2017 and 2018 ER information not yet available. Click on NHAMCS Emergency Department Summary Tables

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