Program curbs unnecessary trips to the ER

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Some Utah Medicaid patients who made unnecessary trips to emergency rooms last year got a letter from the state stressing ER costs and urging them to find a primary care doctor.

If they visited an ER for routine care again, they received a second letter with a list of nearby urgent care clinics. After a third such visit, Medicaid officials placed patients on restricted access, which required them to see a family doctor to get prescriptions filled.

Dubbed Utah’s Safe-to-Wait Project, the first year of the experiment is a success, state health officials say, curbing non-emergency use of ERs by 55 percent.