New York hospitals take aim at ER 'super users'


A coalition of New York hospitals is targeting emergency department “super users” in hopes of reducing unneeded ER visits.

Hospitals and health systems work with the 25 Performing Partner Systems in New York as part of the state's initiative to reduce avoidable hospitalizations by 25 percent by the year 2020, according to an article from Politico.

Hospitals that participate in the program can choose from a number of potential projects, and Sisters of Charity Hospital and Mercy Hospital in Buffalo have begun a care coordination effort to reduce ER overuse.

The hospitals, both of which are part of the PPS Community Partners of Western New York, have begun making follow-up calls to ER patients to direct them to primary care and other interventions and prevent repeat, unneeded visits to the ER. The ERs at those two facilities were identified as two of Community Partners’ busiest, and were chosen as the sites for the pilot program, Scott Kitchen, the PPS’ vice president of clinical and business intelligence, told Politico.

“Believe it or not, we have patients who are in such dire need of coordinated healthcare. They’ve been in the ER literally a dozen times in a month and that’s just not right for anybody,” Kitchen told the publication. “We’ve really worked to try to find a way to help these patients and ... provide them the care they need in the appropriate setting that’s very connected.”

Hospitals in New Jersey have taken similar steps to reduce the number of ER “super users,” according to the article. A report released this week by the New Jersey Hospital Association found that nearly half of the state’s ER patient volume had either mental health or substance abuse needs.

Patients who overuse the emergency department likely have complex medical needs but limited access to primary or specialty care, FierceHealthcare previously reported.