Sacramento County Clinics See Recent Jump in Patients
Officials at Sacramento County clinics are concerned by steep increases in the number of patient visits over the past two years, pushing the number up to about 80,000 in 2006, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Keith Andrews, a physician who heads the clinics, explained that patient visits jumped by 10% to 15% in 2005 and 2006 compared with previous increases of 4% to 6% annually. Andrews attributed the increase primarily to more workers losing employer-sponsored health insurance.
In addition, the number of hospital days that the county pays for increased from 6,700 in 2005 to 7,500 in 2006. The trend continues when it comes to specialist appointments: the county covered the cost of 1,200 such appointments per month in 2006, but that has jumped to 1,400 monthly visits in 2007.
Andrews said he will seek additional funding for the clinics from the county in 2008, explaining that more patients will experience waits without a funding increase (Wiener, Sacramento Bee, 11/11).