Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is an emergency care physician active in Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2004 with a BA in Religious Studies. He then attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine and in 2009 he earned his MD, after which he completed his residency requirements at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in 2012. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and has state medical licenses for both Florida and Louisiana. He has been successfully practicing for 6 years, responding to urgent and non-urgent patient care situations in Florida’s emergency rooms.
Recently, Dr. Forsthoefel was asked to give his expert opinion on a worrying emergency room trend. A compilation of research has shown that a third of emergency room patients come in with non-urgent issues. Doctors agree that this is a major issue affecting hospitals today. Dr. Forsthoefel explained in an interview how, whether or not the situation is urgent, doctors have to give each patient the time and care they require. But this greatly reduces patient flow and makes it more difficult for patients in critical condition to quickly receive the care they need.
Doctors and researchers have examined this problem and concluded that patients are not making effective use of primary care doctors who should be treating less urgent illnesses. Often primary care appointments have a 24-hour wait, and patients would rather be seen the same day. Or the hours are inconvenient and don’t accommodate patient schedules. The solution, as proposed both by researchers and emergency room doctors like Dr. Forsthoefel, is to increase access to primary care doctors. If more primary doctors implemented evening hours, saw patients faster, and accepted insurances such as Medicaid the problem would be reduced. This would allow emergency room doctors like Dr. Forsthoefel to focus their time on treating critically ill or injured patients, while primary care physicians treat those with routine complaints.