Navigation Links
Study examines impact of Massachusetts health law on emergency department visits
Date:6/6/2011

BOSTON While overall emergency department use in Massachusetts continues to rise, the number of low-severity visits dropped slightly since the implementation of the state's health care reform law, according to an Annals of Emergency Medicine study published online.

"Our study suggests other factors play a role in determining access to care and use of the ED in addition to one's insurance status," writes Peter Smulowitz, MD, MPH, the study's lead author and an emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"These likely include availability of primary care, convenience of ED hours, the ability to obtain a comprehensive evaluation and testing at one time in the ED," says Smulowitz, adding other factors may also include cultural views about seeking care through primary care or the ED, patient perceptions about the severity of illness and other financial factors, such as co-payments.

The study examined administrative billing data from 11 hospitals between Jan. 1, 2006 and 2008, during the year before and two years after implementation of the Massachusetts law providing health care access. The hospitals included four tertiary academic medical center, two community hospitals, three safety net/community hospitals and two safety net/tertiary academic medical centers. The combined ED volume of approximately 587,000 visits accounts for about 20 percent of all emergency visits in Massachusetts.

Smulowitz, who is also an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, says the study focused on three groups most likely to be affected by the reform law: the uninsured, enrollees in the MassHealth Medicaid program and those whose costs were covered by the state's uncompensated care pool. After reform, the target group also included those covered by the new Commonwealth Care program and the smaller health safety net group.

Researchers found a 4.1 percent increase in overall ED visits from 2006 to 2008 3.4 percent from 2006 to 2007 and 0.7 percent the following year. In comparison, there was a 4.6 percent increase in ED visits statewide according to data from the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. They found a 1.8 percent decrease in low-severity visits for the group affected by the reform law versus the comparison group.

This small decrease in low-severity visits was somewhat contradictory to expectations prior to the implementation of reform, Smulowitz wrote.

"To the extent that policymakers expected a substantial decrease in overall and low-severity ED visits, this study does not support those expectations."

The authors suggest limitations on the availability of primary care in Massachusetts may be a key reason in the limited effect of health reform in ED utilization. Low or non-existent co-payments for MassHealth and Commonwealth Care may also be factors.

"In addition, even with adequate coverage, it might take time and effort to alter care-seeking patterns that have become ingrained in some communities," Smulowitz wrote. "Many of these patients had never had insurance before, so they may have been relying on the ED instead of other care settings."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jerry Berger
jberger@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7308
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study identifies genetic mutations associated with cancer risk for hereditary cancer syndrome
2. UB played major role in study on drug that reduces breast cancer in high-risk women
3. Indiana U. study points to health disparities in physical fitness
4. Fit Doctors More Likely to Prescribe Exercise: Study
5. Bone Drug Reduces Odds for Breast Cancers Return: Study
6. U.S. Cancer Patients Face Barriers to Care, Study Finds
7. Study links empathy, self-esteem, and autonomy with increased sexual enjoyment
8. Study finds vaccine extends recurrent GBM survival rates by 2 to 3 times
9. BUSM study finds older men more likely to lose the ability to orgasm due to gabapentin
10. Obesity Greater Risk for Fatty Liver Than Alcohol, Study Finds
11. Safer sex: Study examines sexual communication in transgender community
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... US Sports ... Studio in Dover, NH to direct high-performance kids yoga training. ChildLight Yoga Studio is ... just one hour from Boston. , ChildLight Yoga Studio founder Lisa Flynn expresses her ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... The American ... technology, such water may be safer than regular municipal or well water. The recent ... radio host Sharon Kleyne, could go a long way toward increasing public acceptance of ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Give To ... users to search for and donate to Give To Cure’s campaign that is crowdfunding ... that lets users make and share payments through a smart device. In 2015 alone, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Pivot Point ... Best in KLAS: Software & Services for HIT Implementation Support & Staffing report ... independently ranks vendor performance by healthcare executives, managers and clinicians representing over 4,500 ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Dr. Justin Scott and Dr. Lydia Muccioli of ... Day to individuals in need. The event is scheduled to take place on February ... is to provide dental care to community members in need. Each patient will be ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016  Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Aralez") today announced the ... Tribute Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. ("Tribute") following approval of the ... The combined company will operate under Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... Canada , Ireland ... Under the terms of the Agreement and Plan of ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... New York , February 5, 2016 ... new Transparency Market Research report states that the global ... in 2014 and is predicted to reach US$185.9 bn ... CAGR of 6.50% from 2014 to 2020. The title ... (Branded/Generic/Over-the-counter, Chemical/Biological, Captive/Contract Manufactured, by Geography, and by Therapeutic ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... -- Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC ), the world,s largest ... dental, animal health and medical practitioners, announced today that ... majority ownership interest in Dental Cremer S.A., a distributor ... . --> ... dental distribution business of Cremer S.A. With 2015 sales ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: