If we could only convince patients to take their stubbed toes to urgent-care clinics or primary-care offices instead of ERs, the thinking goes, we could save a load and help fix this whole health care fiasco.
But there are a few problems with this logic. While the past decade has seen dramatic increases in the use of emergency care and ER crowding, ER care is but a tiny portion of the U.S. health care pie: less than 3 percent. The claim that unnecessary visits are clogging the emergency care system is also untrue: Just 12 percent of ER visits are not urgent.
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