Policies aimed at cutting Medicaid costs by reducing overall ED visits are not effective because such visits account for only a small portion of total Medicaid spending, researchers report in a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Researchers found that outpatient ED visits represented only 6.8% of total expenditures by Medicaid. The authors also noted that about half of ED expenses were attributed to 3% of beneficiaries.
The study concludes that state-level efforts to lower Medicaid costs by reducing ED visits would generate minimal savings. Instead, researchers recommend specifically targeting beneficiaries with high ED usage to curb such expenses (Handel et al., Annals of Emergency Medicine, November 2007).