Although some components of the Affordable Care Act aim to discourage use of hospital emergency rooms, patient visits to ERs hit a record in 2011 and are expected to continue to climb. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 136 million Americans used the ER in 2011. The CDC projects that ER visits will continue to grow at around a 3 percent annual clip. "Given that our nation's population is aging, and emergency departments have a critical role as the front line of responding to disasters and infectious disease outbreaks in America, such as what we saw with Ebola, we need to prepare for increased numbers of patients," Michael Gerardi, M.D., president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a statement. Read the complete article at FierceHealthcare.