MSNBC.COM - Up to half of the people who are treated at hospital emergency departments and trauma centers are under the influence of alcohol, experts say. That may be a sobering statistic, yet a recent study found that emergency departments can capitalize on this "teachable moment" to discourage problem drinking in the future.
But laws in more than half the states permit insurers to deny payment for medical services related to alcohol or drug use and that can derail hospitals' best intentions, experts say. Faced with the prospect of not getting paid for care, some emergency department personnel may sidestep the problem by simply not testing patients' blood or urine for alcohol. click here to read more