California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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ER Visits For Medi-Cal Patients Jumped 75% Under Affordable Care Act

Experts say people still don't know when it's appropriate to go to the ER.

Modern Healthcare: California ER Use Jumps Despite Medicaid Expansion
California is the latest state to report that emergency room usage is up despite expanding Medicaid eligibility. Emergency room visits by people on Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, rose 75% over five years from 800,000 in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.4 million in the last quarter of 2016, according to California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. (Dickson, 6/16)

The Bakersfield Californian: 'It's A Big Frustration': Local Hospital Emergency Rooms Overwhelmed Since Passage Of Affordable Care Act 
Emergency room visits are up 29 percent in Kern County since 2009 when the Affordable Care Act was passed, running counter to one of the key takeaways from the law: that they would decrease as consumers take advantage of preventive care. The problem? Insurance doesn’t equal health care access and people still don’t know when it’s appropriate to hit the ER, experts say. Roughly 51 percent of Kern County ER visits between 2009 and 2016 came from patients enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance plan for low-income individuals, according to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development analyzed by The Californian. (Pierce, 6/18)

The Bakersfield Californian: Valley Children’s Hospital Now The Busiest ER In The State
Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera has become the busiest emergency department in the state and 22nd busiest nationwide, but unlike other hospitals across the state, surging admittances have nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. Instead, it has to do with regional population growth; partnerships Valley Children’s has forged with nearly every hospital in the San Joaquin Valley; and the lack of primary care pediatricians throughout the region, Todd Suntrapak, president and CEO of Valley Children’s Healthcare, said. (Pierce, 6/17)

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