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Homeless more likely to use ambulance

(UPI Photo Files)
(UPI Photo Files) | License Photo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Homeless people are more likely than others to arrive at a U.S. hospital by ambulance and more than twice as likely to be uninsured, researchers said.

West Virginia University doctors analyzed 500,000 emergency room visits by homeless people and found one-third of homeless patients arrived by ambulance -- at an estimated cost of almost $67 million.

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The study, published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, found that the homeless were more likely to receive more than two diagnostic tests -- a higher number compared with other patients.

Dr. Allison Tadros, a WVU emergency medicine physician, and Stephen M. Davis, research coordinator for the WVU department of emergency medicine found no difference between the urgency of the medical emergencies in comparing both populations.

"We already know that homeless patients make emergency room visits four times more often than others and are among the most frequent repeat visitors," Davis said in a statement.

Federal hospitals were not represented in the data, therefore homeless veterans were not included in the sample, the researchers said.

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