In the past six years, eight people from Austin and one from Luling racked up 2,678 emergency room visits in Central Texas, costing hospitals, taxpayers and others $3 million, according to a report from a nonprofit made up of hospitals and other providers that care for the uninsured and low-income Central Texans.
One of the nine spent more than a third of last year in the ER: 145 days. That same patient totaled 554 ER visits from 2003 through 2008.
"We looked at frequent users of emergency departments ... and that's the extreme," said Ann Kitchen, executive director of the Integrated Care Collaboration, the group that presented the report last week to the Travis County Healthcare District board. "What we're really trying to do is find out who's using our emergency rooms ... and find solutions."
I know of an individual on medicaid who calls the emergency squad for a ride to an emergency room. Once there he walks to the bar across the street.