Primary Care Adherence Linked to Fewer ED Visits Among Californians
Previously uninsured Californians who continued to visit their primary care physician or clinic after obtaining health coverage were less likely to visit an emergency department or hospital, according to a study highlighted in a blog post published in Health Affairs (Gnadinger, Health Affairs, 7/7).
Details of Study
For the study, researchers sought to determine whether the California Health Care Coverage Initiative -- a policy that aims to increase patients' adherence to a primary care provider -- resulted in fewer ED and hospital visits among newly insured adults. The study sample included 8,162 patients.
The researchers analyzed enrollment and claims data from the initiative in Orange County in two periods:
- September 2008 to August 2009, before the policy was implemented; and
- September 2009 to August 2010, after the policy had been implemented.
Overall, the researchers found that the newly insured patients were 42% more likely to adhere to their primary care provider under the policy.
In addition, individuals who were always adherent were less likely to visit the ED or a hospital, compared with those who were not adherent to their primary care provider.
The researchers concluded that changing "patients' care-seeking behaviors is fundamental to improving care and health outcomes while reducing costs" (Pourat et al. Health Affairs, July 2015).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.