Navigation Links
More Medicaid Patients Using ERs, Study Finds
Date:8/10/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing numbers of Americans, especially adults on Medicaid, are using hospital emergency rooms for their health care, say researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

Using data from 1997 through 2007, the researchers found that ERs are increasingly serving as "safety nets" in American health care, because by law they must treat all patients regardless of insurance or their ability to pay, the researchers say.

"There are alarming trends in emergency department visits," said lead researcher Dr. Ning Tang, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the university.

"In 1999 adults with Medicaid visited the emergency department at a rate 3.5 times higher than the rate of adults with private insurance, and in 2007 adults with Medicaid visited the emergency department at a rate five times that of adults with private insurance," she said.

Many of these visits by Medicaid patients were for conditions that could have been managed in a primary care clinic, Tang noted.

The report is published in the Aug.11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To calculate how emergency departments were being used, Tang's team reviewed data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

The researchers classified emergency departments as "safety-net facilities" if more than 30 percent of all visitors were on Medicaid; if more than 30 percent of visits were by people without health insurance; or if more than 40 percent of visits were by Medicaid and uninsured patients.

The number of emergency departments designated as "safety net" centers increased from 1,770 in 2000 to 2,489 in 2007, the researchers found.

They found that during the time period studied, annual emergency department visits went from about 94.9 million to 116.8 million, an increase of 23 percent, which is almost twice what was expected based on population growth, they said.

The biggest increase in ER visits was seen in people 18 to 44 years old and those 45 to 64.

But there could soon be a problem with demand and supply: At the same time that ER visits mushroomed, the number of emergency departments fell by 5 percent, the researchers noted.

Moreover, visits among people receiving Medicaid went from about 694 visits per 1,000 people to about 947 visits per 1,000 people, while visits by adults with private insurance, no insurance or Medicare remained stable, they found.

Because of increased volume, median wait time for treatment increased from 22 to 33 minutes during the study period.

Strategies are needed to prevent further stressing of this "safety-net" system, the authors added.

The findings suggest that access to primary care is a key problem, Tang said. "Whether it's primary care physicians are not accepting new patients with Medicaid or that there aren't enough primary care physicians, we need to dig a little bit deeper," she said.

Whether health care reform will help isn't clear, Tang said. With more people on Medicaid, the future is uncertain, she said. Even increasing reimbursement for doctors may not solve the problem, she added.

Tang's group also noted that the recession may make the problem even worse. "One of the nation's most severe recessions started in 2008, and with record job losses in 2008 and 2009, an estimated additional 5.8 million Americans became uninsured and an estimated 5.4 million enrolled in Medicaid and SCHIP [State Children's Health Insurance Program]," they write.

Dr. Tamara R. Kuittinen, director of medical education in the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, wasn't surprised by the findings. "It's what we experience on a day-to-day basis," she said.

There is no single explanation for the increase in emergency room visits, but rather a combination of factors, Kuittinen said. Hospitals and emergency departments are closing around the country, so naturally there is an increase in people using the remaining emergency rooms, she noted.

More individuals are receiving Medicaid assistance, she said, and many primary care doctors aren't taking on new Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement. "It's a problem with the system," she said.

More information

For more information on access to health care, visit the Families USA.

SOURCES: Ning Tang, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Tamara R. Kuittinen, M.D., director of medical education, department of emergency medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Aug. 11, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation must implement payment reforms rapidly
2. Harmony Information Systems to Host Free Webcast: Learn How Vermont and Pennsylvania Are Taking Control of Medicaid Waivers Management
3. Reading level of Medicaid renewal applications often too high
4. ASTRO applauds nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick to head Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
5. SDI Reports: Emergency Room Visits Covered by Medicaid Increased 6% in 2009
6. Experts support new federal center for Medicare and Medicaid innovation
7. New York State Adopts Universal Provider Datasource to Reduce Administrative Costs for Medicaid
8. Proposed Medicaid Cuts Threatens Health Care Access for 400,000 Maryland Children
9. Create new federal center to spur Medicare and Medicaid innovation
10. Patient Advocates From Across Virginia Visit the State Capitol to Address State Budget Cuts to Medicaid
11. U.S. Senate Urgently Needs to Extend Medicaid Match in Economic Recovery Legislation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
More Medicaid Patients Using ERs, Study Finds
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The ... demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, ... to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College of Medical ... Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. ... honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... drug delivery system that we intend to develop to enable prevention of a ... lead to severe hearing loss, especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , ... recipient of a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ ... on October 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at ... raise money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 ... to keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)...  True Health, a leader in integrated diagnostics ... National Breast Cancer Awareness month to educate doctors ... Research recently published in ... than 10 million American women are at significant ... BRCA2 and have not had testing. These mutations can ...
(Date:10/5/2017)...  In response to the nationwide opioid epidemic, ... (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that urge ibuprofen – ... a first-line therapy to manage a patient,s acute ... Recognizing the value and importance of the ... Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" stresses that practitioners ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... INDIANAPOLIS , Oct. 2, 2017  Eli Lilly ... its financial results for the third quarter of 2017 ... a conference call on that day with the investment ... performance. The conference call will begin at ... public can access a live webcast of the conference ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: