Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California, San Francisco study based on a national survey of nearly 50 thousand adults has found that the biggest factor driving people to seek emergency department care is poor physical and mental health. Study leader, Dr. Ellen Weber, of the university's Division of Emergency Medicine says the study also found that – contrary to popular perception – most of these patients do have health insurance.
Weber: Another problem with that perception is that when there are stories in the media about ambulance diversion, overcrowding, emergency departments closing, most people can turn their head and say, well that's somebody else, that's the uninsured people, that's not me. And I'm not going to be affected by that, but in fact what our study showed is that most of the people who are going to be affected by overcrowding, by ambulance diversion, by closing of emergency departments are going to be middle-class Americans.
Narrator: Weber hopes these findings may lead to policy change. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.