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Important Historical Efforts at Emergency Department Categorization in the United States and Implications for Regionalization

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Abstract

This article is drawn from a report created for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Emergency Department (ED) Categorization Task Force and also reflects the proceedings of a breakout session, “Beyond ED Categorization—Matching Networks to Patient Needs,” at the 2010 Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference, “Beyond Regionalization: Integrated Networks of Emergency Care.” The authors describe a brief history of the significant national and state efforts at categorization and suggest reasons why many of these efforts failed to persevere or gain wider implementation. The history of efforts to categorize hospital (and ED) emergency services demonstrates recognition of the potential benefits of categorization, but reflects repeated failures to implement full categorization systems or limited excursions into categorization through licensing of EDs or designation of receiving and referral facilities. An understanding of the history of hospital and ED categorization could better inform current efforts to develop categorization schemes and processes.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:e154–e160 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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