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: The use of unscheduled out of hours medical care is related to the social status of the patient. However, the social variance in the patient's preference for a hospital based versus a primary care based facility, and the impact of specific patient characteristics such as the travel distance to both types of facilities is unclear. This study aims to determine the social gradient in emergency care seeking behavior (consulting the emergency department (ED) in a hospital or the community-based Primary Care Center (PCC)) taking into account patient characteristics including the geographical distance from the patient's home to both services. A cross-sectional study, including 7,723 patients seeking out-of-hours care during 16 weekends and 2 public holidays was set up in all EDs and PCCs in Ghent, Belgium. Information on the consulted type of service, and neighborhood deprivation level was collected, but also the exact geographical distance from the patient's home to both types of services, and if the patient has a regular GP. Patients living in a socially deprived area have a higher propensity to choose a hospital-based ED than their counterparts living in more affluent neighborhoods. This social difference persists when taking into account distance to both services, having a regular GP, and being hospitalized or not. The impact of the distance between the patient's home address and the location of both types of services on the patient's choice of service is rather small. Initiatives aiming to lead patients more to PCC by penalizing inappropriate ED use might increase health inequity when they are not twinned with interventions improving the access to primary care services and tackling the underlying mechanisms of patients' emergency care seeking behavior. Further research exploring the impact of out-of-hours care organization (gatekeeping, payment systems, ...) and the patient's perspectives on out-of-hours care services is needed.BMC Family Practice 09/2013; 14(1):136. DOI:10.1186/1471-2296-14-136 · 1.74 Impact FactorThis article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched formatRG Format enables you to read in context with side-by-side figures, citations, and feedback from experts in your field.