Study: Most Medicaid ED Visits Caused by Serious Symptoms

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The majority of nonelderly Medicaid patients' emergency department visits are for serious symptoms rather than minor injuries, as is often thought, according to a report by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

HSC studied hospital ED data from the 2008 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Emergency Department, which was conducted by CMS' National Center for Health Statistics.

The data show nonurgent visits — in which a patient needs to be seen within two to 24 hours of arrival — accounted for only approximately 10 percent of ED visits by nonelderly Medicaid patients. Among nonelderly people with private insurance, this rate was roughly 7 percent.

In contrast, emergent visits and urgent visits — in which a patient needs to be seen immediately or within 15 minutes of arrival or within 15 to 60 minutes, respectively — accounted for slightly more than half of nonelderly Medicaid patients' ED visits.

More Articles on ED Utilization:

Study: ED Utilization Measures Should be Standardized
Study: Practice Intensity Drives Increased ED Crowding

Study: ED Length of Stay Associated With Number of Admissions, Discharges

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