The Myth of the Minor Illness
Excellus did a study showing 43 percent of emergency room visits in the Finger Lakes area were unnecessary. The company collaborated with local health care agencies on an advertising campaign telling people to call their primary care doctors if their symptoms are not severe.
“Some people just have the mindset of, ‘Well I’m really sick and I need to go to the emergency room.’ They don’t necessarily call their doctor,” said Adams.
While those emergency room visits may be expensive for insurers and patients, local hospitals say they are not a huge factor in excessive wait times.
“We can take care of hundreds of non-acute patients because they don’t necessarily occupy the beds. They get seen and treated and sent home fairly quickly,” said Dr. Grams.
“I would never say to someone you shouldn’t have come into the emergency department today,” said Dr. Dustin Riccio, Interim Chief of Emergency Medicine at Unity Hospital.
But local hospitals are still taking longer to treat and release patients compared to hospitals across the state and country. Here are average wait times:
Strong: 4 hours, 6 minutes
Unity: 3 hours, 58 minutes
Rochester General: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Highland: 3 hours, 9 minutes
State Average: 2 hours, 35 minutes
National Average: 2 hours, 20 minutes