EHRs Help Cut Medicaid Costs, study says.

Posted by: Aparna Prasad

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Washington state program could be model for the nation.

Tracking Medicaid beneficiaries who frequently use emergency departments and adopting electronic tracking systems to exchange patient information is among one of the ways states can cut Medicaid costs, according to a new report by the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA).

According to a press release issued by The Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (WA-ACEP), preliminary data from the first six months of a study in Washington suggests the state is saving more than 10 percent in Medicaid fee-for-service emergency care costs by following seven best practices:

  • Tracking frequent users of emergency departments and adopting electronic tracking systems to exchange patient information; 

  • Disseminating patient educational materials about appropriate settings for health care services — to be provided at arrival or at discharge;

  • Designating personnel and emergency physician personnel to receive and appropriately disseminate information on Medicaid clients;

  • Contacting primary care providers at the time of the emergency visit and relaying any issues regarding barriers to primary care;

  • Implementing narcotic guidelines that direct patients to primary care or pain management services;

  • Enrolling physicians in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program;

  • Designating emergency physician and hospital staff to review and provide feedback reports— and taking appropriate action.

Andy Sama, MD, president of ACEP said, “Clearly, this is a model for the nation.” 

The report, “Emergency Department Utilization: Assumed Savings From Best Practices Implementation,” analyzes the results of the best practices implemented through a partnership between the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (WA-ACEP), the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Hospital Association and HCA.

Read the full article here. 

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