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Six out of seven ER visits to CT hospitals did not require hospital admission between 2006 and 2009, according to a new report by the Office of Health Care Access. Almost half were for non-urgent problems. Uninsured patients accounted for only one in eight ER non-admit visits, virtually the same as their proportion in the population. Medicaid accounted for one third of ER non-admit visits. (Possibly more — it is not clear from the paper’s methods section if the 400,000 HUSKY members are classified as Medicaid or commercial insurance). The number of non-admit ER visits rose by 10% over those four years. ER visits were 41% more likely to be non-urgent for residents of urban core areas than wealthy community residents. Among urban core residents, Medicaid accounted for more ER non-admit visits than all other payers combined. The authors comment, “Residents of urban core towns with federal or state government sponsored health care coverage may be using EDs for treatment instead of visiting primary health care facilities.” More proof that access to care is exceptionally difficult for Medicaid patients.
Ellen Andrews