Emergency room visits rising, survey of ER docs says (Morning Read)

Among today’s current medical news: ER visits are on the rise, according to doctor surveys; CVS Caremark completes an acquisition; and Argentina gets a $400M healthcare loan.

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ER visits rising: Although trimming emergency room visits is a goal of health care reform’s cost cutting efforts, surveys of ER doctors show that such visits are on the rise. That will make it difficult to hold down health care costs. The survey results from Connecticut track with results from a national survey of ER doctors. Some doctors say that the increase is not just patients who don’t have insurance. ERs are increasingly seeing elderly patients who have coverage but need more care. The American College of Emergency Physicians said that ER visits reached an all-time high of 124 million visits in 2008. Now it looks like visits could eclipse that peak.

Military extends coverage: The military’s health care program will extend coverage for dependents up to age 26, bringing coverage in line with requirements for the rest of the U.S. population.

CVS acquisition: CVS Caremark completes its acquisition of the Medicare Part D business of Universal American.

Argentina gets $400M healthcare loan: The World Bank approves the $400 million loan for Argentina to extend healthcare to 10 million uninsured residents, Reuters reports.

Dealflow: GE Healthcare buys Applied Prescision; Endoscopy-focused medical device firm Xlumema raises $7 million in a series B round.