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Open AccessArticle

Increased Urgent Care Center Visits by Southeast European Migrants: A Retrospective, Controlled Trial from Switzerland

Department of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital, 3010 Berne, Switzerland
Department of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergology, University Hospital, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology, University Hospital, 50935 Cologne, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1857;
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 25 August 2018 / Accepted: 26 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
We investigated whether immigrants from Southeast Europe (SE) and Swiss patients have different reasons for visiting the emergency department (ED). Our retrospective data analysis for the years 2013–2017 describes the pattern of ED consultations for immigrants from SE living in Switzerland (Canton Bern), in comparison with Swiss nationals, with a focus on type of referral and reason for admission. A total of 153,320 Swiss citizens and 12,852 immigrants from SE were included in the study. The mean age was 51.30 (SD = 21.13) years for the Swiss patients and 39.70 (SD = 15.87) years for the SE patients. For some countries of origin (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey), there were highly statistically significant differences in sex distribution, with a predominance of males. SE immigrants had a greater proportion of patients in the lower triage level (level 3: SE: 67.3% vs. Swiss: 56.0%) and a greater proportion of patients in the high triage level than the Swiss population (level 1: SE: 3.4% vs. Swiss: 8.8%). SE patients of working age (16–65 years) were six times more often admitted by ambulance than older (≥65 years) SE patients, whereas this ratio was similar in the Swiss population. In both groups, the fast track service was primarily used for patients of working age (<65) and more than three times more often in the SE than the Swiss group (SE: 39.1%, Swiss: 12.6%). We identified some indications for access to primary care in emergency departments for immigrants and highlighted the need for attention to the role of organizational characteristics of primary health care in Switzerland. We highlighted the need for professional support to improve the quality of healthcare for immigrants. In the future, we will need more primary care services and general practitioners with a migrant background. View Full-Text
Keywords: Southeast Europe; immigrant; healthcare Southeast Europe; immigrant; healthcare
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Klukowska-Röetzler, J.; Eracleous, M.; Müller, M.; Srivastava, D.S.; Krummrey, G.; Keidar, O.; Exadaktylos, A.K. Increased Urgent Care Center Visits by Southeast European Migrants: A Retrospective, Controlled Trial from Switzerland. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1857.

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