News Headlines Article

Sorry, ER patients. People with elective procedures get the hospital beds first.
The Washington Post

In a medical emergency, you may have a surprisingly difficult time finding a bed in a hospital. This is because elective admissions — that is, patients whose hospital stays have been scheduled in advance — take priority over emergencies.

Such a preference for elective admissions might be unexpected, as emergency patients are, by definition, emergencies. But elective patients have attributes that make them financially attractive. They arrive promptly in the morning; they are well-insured; and they undergo invasive procedures that represent a significant revenue stream for hospitals.

An analysis of more than 1 million Medicare cases indicates that hospitals earn about $700 more on each elective admission than on each patient admitted through the emergency department (ED).