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  C. A Study Dispels Some Myths about Emergency Room Visits
ont face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Narrator: This is Science Today. A new study has found that most Americans seeking emergency care are in poor physical or mental health. The majority of patients also has medical insurance and is living above the poverty level. Dr. Ellen Weber, who led the University of California, San Francisco study, says these findings are contrary to popular belief.

Weber: What we’ve seen in the media, as well as many statements in medical journals, is that the uninsured are flooding our emergency departments and emergency departments are there basically just taking care of poor people, uninsured people. So, the assumption is that they’re coming for primary care and all of these visits are not appropriate.

Narrator: The study was based on a national sample of nearly 50 thousand adults.

Weber: We wanted people to see these results because the emergency department is there for an integral part of our health care system. People have been turning a blind eye to the problems of emergency departments when you think it’s just people abusing the system, there’s no political will to try and help emergency departments solve their problems.

Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.