Partnership to Reduce ER Visits Shows Initial Success!
A new report on a collaborative effort of hospitals and physicians to reduce “unnecessary” emergency room visits and coordinate patient care also contains good news for the state budget. Preliminary data from the first six months of the initiative suggest the state is saving more than 10 percent in Medicaid fee-for-service emergency care costs. Accumulated savings could reach $31 million for the fiscal year. Learn more by reading the press release downloading slides from the press conference, or read the full report from the Washington State Health Care Authority.
Seven Best Practices Program
The goal of the Seven Best Practices program is to redirect care to the most appropriate setting, reduce low acuity, and reduce preventable Medicaid emergency room visits. The plan, which attempts to address the root of the problem—chronic medical conditions, substance abuse issues, and lack of primary care access—focuses on high users and will:
- Track emergency department visits to reduce “ED shopping”;
- Implement patient education efforts to re-direct care to the most appropriate setting;
- Institute an extensive case management program to reduce inappropriate emergency department utilization by frequent users;
- Reduce inappropriate ED visits by collaborative use of prompt (72 hour) visits to primary care physicians and improving access to care;
- Implement narcotic guidelines that will discourage narcotic-seeking behavior;
- Track data on patients prescribed controlled substances by widespread participation in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP); and
- Track progress of the plan to make sure steps are working.
Click here for one-page document outlining Seven Best Practices [PDF]. Our success will work to prevent the state from enacting payment cuts to both hospitals and physicians for emergency room services.
September 24, 2012 - Safe Table, ER is for Emergencies
Safe Table Presentations:
Safe Table Summary
This week about 150 people from across the state attended a Safe Table Learning Collaborative and engaged in the implementation of strategies to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits.
National experts from rural and urban communities shared innovative ideas for building regional collaborations with primary care providers, insurers, and community organizations to help patients access the care they need in the most appropriate setting. Dr. Jeff Thompson from the Washington State Health Care Authority shared opportunities for working together on this issue. Participants also received information detailing practices in their own emergency departments.
The Safe Table program is led by the Washington State Hospital Association in collaboration with the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Room Physicians.
All hospitals in Washington State are working to implement seven best practices to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits. The goal is to show a measurable reduction by January 2013. A complete list of the seven best practices is available through the WSHA website. (Amber Theel, email@example.com)
Clicking the link above will direct you to the page with downloadable patient brochures translated into English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian.
September 12, 2012 -- to listen and view webcast, click here: Managing Patients with Chemical Dependencies and Behavioral Health Issues in the Emergency Department
June 11, 2012 -- to listen and view webcast, click here: Improving Care Through Case Management in the Emergency Department
- PowerPoint with speaking notes to use to give an overview of ER is for Emergencies during in person meetings. About a 20 minute presentation.
- Best Practices Slides (4/19/12) or view recording
- Best Practice FAQ Sheet
- WSMA video: Reducing Preventable ER Visits (30:50)
- WSMA video: Reducing Preventable Emergency Room Visits (5:25)
- WSMA video: Role of Primary Care and Community Physicians (9:46)
Best Practice A:
Best Practice C & D:
Best Practice F:
Updated April 23, 2012
The legislature enacted a budget proviso that gives hospitals the opportunity to avoid the state Medicaid ER no-payment policy by adopting seven “best practices” to reduce unnecessary ER. If a sufficient number of hospitals implement the best practices by June 15, 2012, the no-payment policy will be avoided; if not, the no-payment policy will go into effect on July 1, 2012.
Hospitals have only eight weeks to implement these best practices before the attestations are due on June 15, 2012. The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), and the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (WA-ACEP) are working together to provide hospitals with the information and tools to accomplish these goals and avoid the no-payment policy.
In order to avoid reversion to the no-payment policy on July 1, 2012, hospitals are expected to adopt and implement seven best practices by June 15, 2012. An attestation letter must also be submitted to the Health Care Authority. The best practices are outlined below. Click on each best practice for more information.
|Exchange patient information among emergency departments|
|Help patients understand and use appropriate sources of care|
|C) Patient Review and Coordination (PRC) Information||Ensure hospitals know when they are treating a PRC patient and treat accordingly|
|D) PRC Client Care Plans||Assist PRC clients with their care plans|
|E) Narcotic Guidelines||Reduce drug-seeking and drug-dispensing to frequent ER users|
|F) Prescription Monitoring||Ensure coordination of prescription drug prescribing practices|
|G) Use of Feedback Information||Review reports, ensure interventions are working|
- Tacoma News Tribune: Medicaid ER visit limits will wait for budget deal (April 3, 2012)
- Seattle Times: Medicaid to continue paying for ER Visits (April 2, 2012)
- WSJ: Medicaid Cuts Rile Doctors (February 25, 2012)
- Seattle Times: State Medicaid program to stop paying for unneeded ER visits (February 7, 2012)
Coverage from the orginal three visit emergency room benefit limit
- Letter to HCA and legislators regarding non-emergent conditions
- ER limit press release
- Op-ed about the benefit limit
- Spokesman Review article
- Seattle Times article
- Seattle P-I article
- AMEDNEWS article
- KOMO-TV article
- The News Tribune article
- The Daily News Online, Longview, WA article
- TDN.com article
- Children's Alliance article
- MyFox Spokane article