ER overuse: some utilization data

Who's around more?

The chart above comes from USA Today. It shows that the uninsured are no more likely to use ER services than the insured. For example, among people younger than 17, 17% of the uninsured would visit an ER within the year, vs. 18% among those with insurance – basically no difference.

Proponents of health care reform maintained that the uninsured used ER for routine care, and that insuring them would reduce costs. Oops there.

It’s more interesting to look at ER frequency by Medicaid/Medicare use – considerably higher at every age group. With older people, this makes sense, as health deteriorates as one ages. For the younger age groups, it could hint at a policy problem, as Obamacare will be growing Medicaid/CHIP substantially.

Accompanying story is here.

Advertisements
Tagged

One thought on “ER overuse: some utilization data

  1. Brian H says:

    For the younger age groups, it could hint at a policy problem, as Obamacare will be growing Medicaid/CHIP substantially.

    Or it could point to a societal problem (from the same article):

    That Medicaid patients use the ER more regularly is predictable, says Frank McGeorge, a senior staff physician in the ER at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, whose ER sees a high rate of Medicaid patients — 34%.

    “High Medicaid utilization is no surprise, many patients have difficulty finding primary-care providers who take Medicaid, so the ER is the only alternative,” McGeorge says.

    What needs to happen is that Medicaid must have better payouts so that more physicians will accept it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: