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Emergency Rooms Being Flooded With the Uninsured

The number of trips to Ohio emergency rooms continues to rise, but almost none of the increase is coming from patients who have private insurance.Ohio's emergency rooms have been getting busier and busier, particularly from uninsured patients coming in for care. The Ohio Hospital Association reports that between 2003 and 2006, the overall number of ER visits in the state rose by about 9.5 percent, while visits by the uninsured grew almost 20 percent.

At Mount Carmel West hospital in Columbus, director of emergency services Marci Ladue says emergency departments are a safety net for people who don't have health insurance. And, she says when they come in, they tend to be very, very sick. Hospital association spokeswoman Tiffany Himmelreich says hospitals must find ways to take care of those bills. So, she says unpaid care could result in higher costs for people with insurance.