Giving in to providing primary care in the ED

From Modern Healthcare:

For rural healthcare providers, reducing use of the emergency department can determine whether a facility will continue running. With thinner operating margins compared to larger, urban medical centers, rural hospitals often have a higher proportion of ED patients who are uninsured or can’t pay their insurance deductibles, which results in higher rates of uncompensated care for such facilities.

But a proposal published this week in the Annals of Emergency Medicine suggests embracing innovative models like the one at Carolinas may hold the key for improving both the delivery of care and health outcomes for rural communities through use of the emergency department.

“I think in urban areas, efforts to reduce emergency department utilization are extremely important,” said paper lead author Dr. Margaret Greenwood-Ericksen, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan and a researcher at the school’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. “But urban and rural areas are very different in many ways—so applying an urban model to a rural area doesn’t really seem to be effective and doesn’t take into consideration some of the barriers that are faced in rural areas.”

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