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Dr. Brawer

Dr. Crawford

Dr. Lovett

Bettina Berman

Ling Lee-Finance


Over the past decade, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits increased at almost double the rate that would be expected due to normal population growth. The implications of this increase in ED usage include decreased quality of care, overcrowding, increased wait times, and increased healthcare costs. The purpose of this analysis is to examine health issues, concerns, and underling social determinants of frequent ED users and South Philadelphia Residents who use the Thomas Jefferson University or Methodist Hospital emergency departments. This project is a retrospective data analysis using descriptive statistics, measures of central tendency, and cross-tabulation analysis to analyze emergency department data from July 2011 through June 2012. Frequent ED users (patients who visited the ED greater than 4 times in one year) were more likely to be Medicaid patients, who visited the ED for substance abuse problems, mental issues, sickle cell disease, and pain-related complaints. South Philadelphia residents also had a higher rate of Medicaid insurance than patients in the surrounding areas. They also had had higher rates of ED visits for asthma and other ambulatory care sensitive conditions. South Philadelphia patients also had a higher rate of non-emergent ED visits. Although many patients in the Thomas Jefferson University community benefit area report having a regular source of care, there were still a large number of ED visits for conditions that could be managed in an outpatient setting. Additional research is necessary to explore potential barriers to primary care that exist in this setting.