The effects of a community-based partnership, Project Access Dallas (PAD), on emergency department utilization and costs among the uninsured.
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Approximately 19% of non-elderly adults are without health insurance. The uninsured frequently lack a source of primary care and are more likely to use the emergency department (ED) for routine care. Improving access to primary care for the uninsured is one strategy to reduce ED overutilization and related costs. METHODS: A comparison group quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate a broad-based community partnership that provided access to care for the uninsured-Project Access Dallas (PAD)-on ED utilization and related costs. Eligible uninsured patients seen in the ED were enrolled in PAD (n = 265) with similar patients not enrolled in PAD (n = 309) serving as controls. Study patients were aged 18-65 years, <200% of the federal poverty level and uninsured. Outcome measures include the number of ED visits, hospital days and direct and indirect costs. RESULTS: PAD program enrollees had significantly fewer ED visits (0.93 vs. 1.44; P < 0.01) and fewer inpatient hospital days (0.37 vs. 1.07; P < 0.05) than controls. Direct hospital costs were ∼60% less ($1188 vs. $446; P < 0.01) and indirect costs were 50% less ($313 vs. $692; P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: A broad-based community partnership program can significantly reduce ED utilization and related costs among the uninsured.
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ABSTRACT: Our objective was to evaluate whether referral to primary care settings would be clinically appropriate for and acceptable to patients waiting for emergency department care for nonemergency conditions. We studied 700 patients waiting for emergency department care at a public hospital. Access to alternative sources of medical care, clinical appropriateness of emergency department use, and patients' willingness to use nonemergency services were measured and compared between patients with and without a regular source of care. Nearly half (45%) of the patients cited access barriers to primary care as their reason for using the emergency department. Only 13% of the patients waiting for care had conditions that were clinically appropriate for emergency department services. Patients with a regular source of care used the emergency department more appropriately than did patients without a regular source of care. Thirty-eight percent of the patients expressed a willingness to trade their emergency department visit for an appointment with a physician within 3 days. Public emergency departments could refer large numbers of patients to appointments at primary care facilities. This alternative would be viable only if the availability and coordination of primary care services were enhanced for low-income populations.American Journal of Public Health 04/1993; 83(3):372-8. · 4.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To examine whether the higher hospital admission rates for chronic medical conditions such as asthma, hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes in low-income communities resulted from community differences in access to care, prevalence of the diseases, propensity to seek care, or physician admitting style. Analysis of California hospital discharge data. We calculated the hospitalization rates for these five chronic conditions for the 250 ZIP code clusters that define urban California. We performed a random-digit telephone survey among adults residing in a random sample of 41 of these urban ZIP code clusters stratified by admission rates and a mailed survey of generalist and emergency physicians who practiced in the same 41 areas. Community based. A total of 6674 English- and Spanish-speaking adults aged 18 through 64 years residing in the 41 areas were asked about their access to care, their chronic medical conditions, and their propensity to seek health care. Physician admitting style was measured with written clinical vignettes among 723 generalist and emergency physicians practicing in the same communities. We compared respondents' reports of access to medical care in an area with the area's cumulative admission rate for these five chronic conditions. We then tested whether access to medical care remained independently associated with preventable hospitalization rates after controlling for the prevalence of the conditions, health care seeking, and physician practice style. Access to care was inversely associated with the hospitalization rates for the five chronic medical conditions (R2 = 0.50; P < .001). In a multivariate analysis that included a measure of access, the prevalence of conditions, health care seeking, and physician practice style to predict cumulative hospitalization rates for chronic medical conditions, both self-rated access to care (P < .002) and the prevalence of the conditions (P < .03) remained independent predictors. Communities where people perceive poor access to medical care have higher rates of hospitalization for chronic diseases. Improving access to care is more likely than changing patients' propensity to seek health care or eliminating variation in physician practice style to reduce hospitalization rates for chronic conditions.JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 08/1995; 274(4):305-11. · 30.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We examined the published literature on health programs in faith-based organizations to determine the effectiveness of these programs. We conducted a systematic literature review of articles describing faith-based health activities. Articles (n = 386) were screened for eligibility (n = 105), whether a faith-based health program was described (n = 53), and whether program effects were reported (28). Most programs focused on primary prevention (50.9%), general health maintenance (25.5%), cardiovascular health (20.7%), or cancer (18.9%). Significant effects reported included reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure levels, weight, and disease symptoms and increases in the use of mammography and breast self-examination. Faith-based programs can improve health outcomes. Means are needed for increasing the frequency with which such programs are evaluated and the results of these evaluations are disseminated.American Journal of Public Health 07/2004; 94(6):1030-6. · 4.23 Impact Factor