Closure of metropolitan ERs harmful to patients, emergency docs warn

March 4, 2010

Closure of emergency rooms puts patients' lives at risk, the American College of Emergency Physicians warned in a statement last week. Irving, TX-based ACEP's statement comes on the heels of the closure of an emergency room in Cincinnati, amid reports that additional emergency rooms in New York and Washington may close as well, according to a press release from the association.

Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati recently announced it was closing its emergency room due to financial losses, and both St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City and United Medical Center in Washington announced they may soon be forced to do the same, the release said.

ACEP President Dr. Angela Gardner called on President Barack Obama and members of Congress to consider emergency care in health care reform proposals. "Emergency visits are increasing at rapid rates, and as our population ages, even more people will need these vital services," she said. "Closing these emergency departments will have a disastrous effect -- not just on the people who rely on them for emergency care, but also on the neighboring hospitals that will have to absorb more emergency patients."