Data on more than 200,000 Medicaid patients who went to hospital emergency departments found that about half had one or more chronic illnesses and that the number of times a patient visited a primary care physician increased with the number of ED visits, researchers reported in the journal Health Affairs. Maria Raven of University of California, Los Angeles, said the study counters beliefs that frequent ED use is linked to a lack of primary care and added it is unrealistic to place all the burden on primary care doctors to reduce ED usage because the patients are very sick.

Related Summaries