Program Discourages Use of EDs for Non-Urgent Care
Los Angeles County-USC Hospital is working with a private not-for-profit organization on a three-year pilot program that is intended to encourage frequent users of hospital emergency departments to seek treatment at private health clinics, the Los Angeles Times reports. County-USC operates the second-busiest ED in the nation with about 175,000 patients annually.
The hospital and its partner, Community Outreach for Prevention and Education, are working to teach such patients about other options for medical attention, including private clinics where most program participants can be treated more regularly and at a lower cost than in an ED. Program participants receive care at no cost at the private clinics and are assigned a health coach to help them learn about health care options and manage their care.
COPE officials estimated that the cost of care for one program participant decreased by about half over the seven months he has been enrolled.
Pete Delgado, CEO of County-USC, said, "Our goal is to identify the 5% to 10% of our population that is driving 50% to 60% of our [ED] costs."
About 100 people are enrolled in the program, to which $250,000 has been committed (Quinones, Los Angeles Times, 1/22).