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.
"Research shows that the choice of type of unscheduled out-of-hours health care (hospital-based versus primary care setting) is socially determined [7-11]. However, the strength and even the direction of the relation seems to be highly dependent on other patient characteristics [11-13]. In this context, the availability of services and distance between the patient’s home and both types of services is suggested as a confounding factor . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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 · 1.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Population shifts among surgeons and the general populous will contribute to a predicted general surgeon shortage by 2020. The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract designed and conducted a survey to assess perceptions and possible solutions from important stakeholders: practicing surgeons of the society, general surgery residents, and medical students.
Responses from 1,208 participants: 658 practicing surgeons, 183 general surgery residents, and 367 medical students, were analyzed. There was a strong perception of a current and future surgeon shortage. The majority of surgeons (59.3 %) and residents (64.5 %) perceived a current general surgeon shortage, while 28.6 % of medical students responded the same. When asked of a perceived general surgery shortage in 20 years, 82.4, 81.4, and 51 % said “yes”, respectively. There were generational differences in responses to contributors and solutions for the impending shortage. Surgeons placed a high value on improving reimbursement, tort reform, and surgeon burnout, while residents held a strong interest in a national loan forgiveness program and improving lifestyle barriers.
Our survey offers insight into possible solutions to ward off a surgeon shortage that should be addressed with programmatic changes in residency training and by reform of the national health care system.
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 09/2014; 18(12). DOI:10.1007/s11605-014-2636-8 · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Use of the hospital emergency department (ED) for medical conditions not likely to require immediate treatment is a controversial topic. It has been faulted for ED overcrowding, increased expenditures, and decreased quality of care. On the other hand, such avoidable ED utilization may be a manifestation of barriers to primary care access.
A random 10% subsample of all ED visits with unmasked variables, or approximately 7.2% of all ED visits in California between 2006 and 2010 are used in the analysis. Using panel data methods, we employ linear probability and fractional probit models with hospital fixed effects to analyze the associations between avoidable ED utilization in California and observable patient characteristics. We also test whether shorter estimated road distances to the hospital ED are correlated with non-urgent ED utilization, as defined by the New York University ED Algorithm. We then investigate whether proximity of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is correlated with reductions in non-urgent ED utilization among Medicaid patients.
We find that relative to the reference group of adults aged 35–64, younger patients generally have higher scores for non-urgent conditions and lower scores for urgent conditions. However, elderly patients (≥65) use the ED for conditions more likely to be urgent. Relative to male and white patients, respectively, female patients and all identified racial and ethnic minorities use the ED for conditions more likely to be non-urgent. Patients with non-commercial insurance coverage also use the ED for conditions more likely to be non-urgent. Medicare and Medicaid patients who live closer to the hospital ED have higher probability scores for non-emergent visits. However, among Medicaid enrollees, those who live in zip codes with an FQHC within 0.5 mile of the zip code population centroid visit the ED for medical conditions less likely to be non-emergent.
These patterns of ED utilization point to potential barriers to care among historically vulnerable groups, observable even when using rough estimates of travel distances and avoidable ED utilization.
International Journal for Equity in Health 03/2015; 14(1). DOI:10.1186/s12939-015-0158-y · 1.71 Impact Factor
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