Uninsured Patients at a Higher Risk for Death

Uninsured Patients at a Higher Risk for Death

It has been stated and studies do show that uninsured patients have a higher risk of death. This is mostly because privately owned hospitals require payment for their services and are likely to be financially strapped due to the number of non-paying patients. It is a Federal law that no person can be refused medical treatment regardless of his or her ability to pay. Some facilities, however, will transfer patients out to other hospitals that have more resources and discounted services.

Risks for Patient Care

With some hospitals providing only basic medical services to the uninsured, the “treat them and street them” philosophy, more patients worsen at a rapid rate while waiting on care. With minimal care, those with life threatening injuries are likely to be stabilized and transferred out to another facility. Those with regular issues such as abdominal pain, broken bones and other serious injuries are treated quickly with minimal care and are sent home with expensive prescriptions that they cannot afford to fill. This leads to more serious health conditions, and in some cases, death.

Slows Treatment for the Uninsured

Those transferred to a local hospital from a gunshot wound, car accident injury or other serious medical problems may end up just waiting around to be transferred elsewhere. Paramedics are not aware of a person’s financial or health insurance status. It is merely their job to get these patients to a medical facility as soon as possible in an effort to save their lives. All this really does is slow down the treatment for these patients.

Patients Transferred to Major Hospitals

When patients have to wait for transfer, their care is slowed. This often worsens their condition. This leads to longer recovery time, more extensive medical care being required and a higher bill in the end. Most of these patients also leave with more prescriptions being given, with many being expensive.

Closing Thoughts

Healthcare administrators swear up and down that uninsured or low-income patients are not treated any differently than patients with coverage or substantial incomes. Unfortunately, studies show that this is not the case. Many tests are neglected due to cost so those that cannot pay often leave the emergency department with a partial or incorrect diagnosis. This is dangerous for those patients. The death rates are higher for uninsured and low-income persons than they are for insured patients. Changes in medical care are working to correct this in the coming years, such as with patient assistance programs and prescription assistance.





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