The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Care Visits: Why Choose the Emergency Department? | Emergency Medicine | JAMA Forum Archive | JAMA Network
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The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Care Visits: Why Choose the Emergency Department?

About 8 years ago, I became ill with what felt like the flu. Days after my symptoms appeared, though, they got worse. On a Sunday, I called my primary care provider's office and heard back from the physician on call. She suggested I go to the emergency department (ED).

But I felt so awful that the prospect of sitting in an ED waiting room was more than I could bear. I live in New York City, where ED waits can be painfully long (a recent ProPublica analysis shows that the city's average ED wait to see a clinician ranges from 40 to 105 minutes). Also, I was keenly aware that preventable medical errors at hospitals constituted the fifth leading cause of US deaths at that time (it's now estimated to be third).

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