Lower ED Margins Demand a Better Strategy

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , May 24, 2013

Overcrowding is a huge concern when it comes to patient safety in the ED. Some 96% of healthcare leaders with an overcrowded ED are either "concerned" (45%) or "very concerned" (51%) with patient safety as a result of that overcrowding, which can cause delays in treatment, reduce the quality of care received, and increase the risks for some patients.

As they work toward ED improvements, healthcare leaders are keeping a watchful eye on finances. While a plurality of respondents (44%) report that their ED has a positive operating margin, one in five (18%) reports a negative ED operating margin, and 60% say they expect their ED operating margin to decrease within the next three years; only 9% expect increased ED operating margin.

In addition, 65% expect ED reimbursement rates to decrease within the same time frame, and 58% expect an increase in uninsured/self-pay patients.

As the industry continues its transition from volume to value, leaders will need to address clinical and operational concerns not only within the ED itself but also throughout the organization and the continuum of care.

Reprint HLR0513-3

This article appears in the May issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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