Friday, April 2, 2010

With the passage of the healthcare bill, one of the premises of it is that it will reduce costs by having fewer patients use the emergency room for thier healthcare?The Weekly Standard has an article that looks at that issue. From the article we see:

"In 2005, researchers from Yale University writing in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine approached uninsured patients using emergency rooms in New Haven, Conn. for their medical care and intervened by assigning half the patients to an intensive case management program where the patients were guided to community health centers or to specific primary care practitioners, all of whom were funded by a pre-existing federal program to provide underwritten medical care to the uninsured. These patients were compared to a similar group who were randomly assigned to receive a referral to the free care program but no intensive case management. The researchers found that the patients receiving the intense support were 4 times more likely to see a primary care physician (51% vs. 14%), but there was no difference between groups in either subsequent number of inpatient admissions or subsequent visits to an emergency department!"

This is an interesting read pointing out the question. With a limited number of primary care physicians will we really see a decrease in people using the emergency room for their care or will we just be changing who the people are that use the emergency room that way.

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