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Emergency Rooms

The Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (1986) mandates that hospitals must provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of ability to pay. About one out of every five Americans visited an emergency room (ER) in 2007, resulting in roughly 110 million emergency room visits, or nearly four visits every second. Emergency rooms are straining to serve their communities, and, in many ways, are failing. About once every minute, an ambulance carrying a sick person is turned away from an overburdened ER and diverted to another, wasting precious minutes that could mean the difference between life and death for many people. Even more troubling are the horror stories about patients who died in the waiting rooms of emergency departments, sometimes having ...

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