Number of ER Visits Increases 14% Since 1992
U.S. residents visited the emergency room 103 million times in 1999, up 14% from 90 million in 1992, according to the CDC. Because of the increase, hospitals cared for 35,000 more patients per day in the 1990s, the AP/Nando Times reports. The CDC said an aging population and general population growth are responsible for the increase. Between 1992 and 1999, the U.S. population grew 7%, from 256.5 million to 274 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People most commonly visited the emergency room for stomach pain, chest pain or fever. Also, emergency room visits caused by "adverse reactions to drugs and other complications from medical care" increased 80% between 1992 and 1999; in 1999, there were 1.4 million such visits. People waited an average of 49 minutes to see a doctor in 1999; however, the wait "varied considerably by hospital," the CDC said. For children, pain relief medication was the most commonly prescribed medicine during the 1990s, surpassing antibiotics (AP/Nando Times, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.