Wisconsin proposal would help keep chronically ill out of emergency rooms

From the Journal-Sentinel:

Last year in Wisconsin, thousands of people visited an emergency room more than seven times each — a stream of bad outcomes for taxpayers, the health care industry and the patients themselves.

To respond, lawmakers voted last week to give hospitals a powerful financial incentive to reduce emergency room costs within the state’s Medicaid health programs for the needy.  The pilot proposal: Work with diabetics and patients with asthma and heart disease to control the health conditions that are landing them in the emergency room. If successful, the proposal could mitigate millions of dollars in unnecessary costs for taxpayers and give patients better lives to boot.

The approach: Pay health care providers to prevent bad outcomes and emergency room visits for patients rather than paying them even more to provide emergency room care after a patient has had a bout with asthma, or worse yet, a heart attack.