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Ann Emerg Med. 1995 May;25(5):666-74.

Health care reform and emergency medicine.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Highland General Hospital, San Francisco, USA.


The twin goals of health care reform--providing universal coverage and limiting health care costs--will require increased primary care access and reductions in the overuse of inappropriate subspecialty interventions. The emergency department provides acute care access for all patients and nonemergency care for those patients unable to find other sources of care. Implementation of marketplace reforms may direct patients away from EDs to other primary care sites and reallocate residency positions now available for training of emergency physicians to other primary care specialties. These two effects may endanger the viability of the ED as the safety net of the health care system. The impact of health care reform on the emergency care system of the nation requires careful analysis to protect the important role of the ED in providing acute care and in guaranteeing access to care.

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