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:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... proudly announces the launch of its 60-day free trial program for all of ... shipping make the offer a truly hassle free experience. , FlexiSpot’s unique desktop ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... With the number of pain management programs available for ... find the one that works for them. When an inventor from Suisun City, Calif., ... and decided to share it with others. , He developed a prototype for PRO ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Mediaplanet is proud to ... which covers the innovative treatments, therapeutic technologies, and revolutionized nutrition that are helping ... prolonging life 6 years in the last 3 decades,” says Dr. Valentine Fuster, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... , ... Sourced from the Isbre Springs beneath the 5,000 year old Hardanger ... of just 6 ppm TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in addition to its excellent taste ... several ShopRite and FoodTown stores in NJ and received rave comments from consumers. , ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 ... ... digitally-enabled care journeys, announced today that it has raised $6.0 million in an ... inspired by Clarify Health’s conviction that patients and their caregivers can receive far ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov 30, 2016 Research and Markets has ... Monitoring Devices 2017 - MedCore" report to their offering. ... , , ... the skull. In healthy individuals, it is circulated though the brain and ... where the amount of CSF surrounding the brain changes significantly. ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... Detachable coil embolization is a minimally invasive method ... embolization treatment of cerebral aneurysms is less invasive and requires less recovery ... wall of an artery in the brain. This area bulges in the ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Calif. , Nov. 30, 2016 Varian ... it was named America,s Most JUST Company in the ... and Forbes magazine,s inaugural "JUST 100 List." ... of the largest surveys ever conducted on attitudes towards ... months. This inaugural list ranks U.S companies against their ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: