There is no doubt that violent incidents are s concern in hospital emergency rooms. But the perception that most people visiting ERs do not have insurance is not true. One in five people in the United States visit an emergency room every year, and most of them have health insurance of some kind, according to a U.S. government survey. The survey contradicts a common perception that emergency rooms are packed with uninsured people and illegal immigrants. It also rejects some claims that people are using the emergency department for routine care — just 10 percent of visits were for non-urgent causes. “In 2007, approximately one in five persons in the U.S. population had one or more emergency department visits in a 12-month period,” the report from the National Center for Health Statistics reads. “Among the under-65 population, the uninsured were no more likely than the insured to have had at least one emergency department visit in a 12-month period.” “Since 1996, demand for emergency services in the United States has been rising,” the researchers wrote. “While the number of emergency departments (EDs) across the country has decreased, the number of ED visits has increased. As a result, EDs are experiencing higher patient volume and overcrowding, and patients seeking care are experiencing longer wait times,” they added. The American College of Emergency Physicians published a survey this month showing that 61 percent of emergency doctors surveyed believe U.S. health-care reform will send even more people to emergency departments.

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