Study: OR Medicaid cuts push up ED visits

A new study suggests that at least in Oregon, Medicaid may be helping providers avoid costly emergency department visits by the uninsured. The study, which appears in this month's Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that ED visits by the state's uninsured saw an "abrupt and sustained" climb when it cut more than 50,000 beneficiaries from the Medicaid program. The researchers, who looked at hospital billing data on more than 2.5 million visits to 26 Oregon EDs, looked at data two years after the Medicaid program underwent the cuts. After Medicaid dropped the beneficiaries, ED visits went up noticeably, from 6,682 per month in 2002 to 9,058 per month in 2004.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Annals of Emergency Medicine article (.pdf)
- read this HFMA News item

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