ACA May Result In More Patients Using Emergency Rooms For Primary Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Janke BS

School of Medicine at Wayne State University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Health insurance by itself does not guarantee quality healthcare; patients need accessible primary care options. Without them, patients newly-enrolled in health insurance may not be able to enjoy the benefits of preventive care and chronic disease management that primary care can provide.

In a new study, Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers have found that patients newly-enrolled in health insurance may not be able to access primary care, and may instead rely on the emergency department (ED) for care

Alexander T. Janke, lead author on a new study, said, “Increasing insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is likely to draw attention to problems with patients’ access to primary care providers. Patients may be diverted to our nations emergency departments. This will likely contribute to a pattern of inefficient healthcare spending, as most emergency department s are not currently well-equipped to provide for patients’ full range of healthcare needs. At the same time, this provides an opportunity to rethink the role of acute care in the United States.”

This is the first population-level study to demonstrate newly-enrolled patients’ propensity for lack of access-based ED utilization. In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, emergency departments will need to evolve into outlets that service a wider range of healthcare needs rather than function in their current capacity, which is largely to address acute issues in isolation.

Citation:

Access to Care Issues and the Role of Emergency Departments in the wake of the Affordable Care Act

Alexander T. Janke | Aaron M. Brody | Daniel L. Overbeek | Justin C. Bedford | Robert D. Welch | Phillip D. Levy
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine
Published Online: November 13, 2014

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2014.11.006

 

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