POSTED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 7:06pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 2:41pm
TYLER, TEXAS (KETK) — Even though the Affordable Care Act is in place we're told hospital emergency rooms are still overrun with patients.
Obamacare was supposed to lighten the load for hospitals, but there is still a loophole which is causing problems. Since the ER is overburdened with non-emergencies, we're told some patients are being sent to urgent care to avoid a long wait and to be treated quickly. If folks don't have insurance that's where we run into the problem.
We're told emergency rooms are more over crowded than ever after new changes to health care law and it's leaving many people untreated.
Dr. Benjamin Constante of Momentum Urgent Care says he gets a handful of patients coming from the ER. "Some patients are finding that somewhat of a shock, to go to the hospital and they won't see me because they don't technically have an emergency."
Dr. Constante says, under the 1986 emergency medical treatment and active labor act all patients must be treated whether a patient is insured or uninsured.
The uninsured folks go the ER is because they don't need insurance for non-emergency treatment. "So now you have to go somewhere else but everywhere else going to ask some sort of compensation, they're going to ask for payment," said Dr. Constante.
Urgent care doctors are seeing many more patients coming from the ER. "I see patients certainly weekly but not daily where they were in the ER and the ER said you would be better served in an urgent care," said Constante.
Dr. Constante says there needs to be judgment calls. "I would have patients that would get checked in at the ER, and wait there for how ever long is was and they get frustrated and leave and come here, and I say wow you're really sick you need to go back to the ER."
We tried to reach out to Trinity Mother Frances Hospital, but ETMC officials say, for non-emergencies patients need to establish financial responsibility prior to receiving services. As for emergencies, they are required by law to treat any patient.