Emergency department visits on the rise

Emergency department visits rose to a record 136 million in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of 6 million from the 2010 total. The annual visit rate was 44.5 ED visits per 100 persons, the CDC says. The highest number of visits was made by persons between the ages 25 and 44. One third of visits were by people younger than 15 or older than 65. Females had a higher rate than males, and the rate for blacks was highest of all subgroups studied.

Demand for emergency services will increase, Michael Gerardi, MD, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), tells Health Day. “Given that our nation’s population is aging, and emergency departments have a critical role as the front line of responding to disasters and infectious disease outbreaks in America, such as what we saw with Ebola, we need to prepare for increased numbers of patients.” ACEP estimates that there were about 140 million ED visits in 2014.

ED visits by age, 2011

Number of visits per 100 persons, per year

ED visits by sex and race, 2011

Number of visits per 100 persons, per year

Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention