Emergency Rooms Seeing Decrease in Visits After ER is for Emerge - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Emergency Rooms Seeing Decrease in Visits After ER is for Emergencies Program

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New data shows that fewer people are going to the emergency room in Washington when they do not need to. New data shows that fewer people are going to the emergency room in Washington when they do not need to.

NBCRightNow.com - New data shows that fewer people are going to the emergency room in Washington when they do not need to. 


The program is called ER is for Emergencies.


It has helped bring down the number of people coming in to emergency rooms by educating frequent ER users about more appropriate ways to get medical attention.


"The state was concerned about the finances, they were spending lots and lots of money on patients who were repeatedly coming to the emergency department for non-emergent care," Dr. John Matheson said. 


Since this program made up of a coalition of emergency room doctors, hospitals and the state run health care authority started, it has saved the state more than $33 million in Medicaid costs. 


The most recent numbers show the program has helped bring down the number of ER visits by nearly 10 percent.


The number of visits from people who use the ER more than five times a year has also gone down by more than 10 percent statewide and Dr. John Matheson says those visits have gone down by 57 percent at Kadlec.


"Finding other resources that are more appropriate for them, making sure that they have access to primary care and other programs to keep them healthy and keep them from having to come to the emergency department," Dr. Matheson said. 


The second phase of the program is helping cut down on prescription drug abuse and overdoses by expanding the state wide prescription monitoring program to emergency rooms.


That way an emergency room doctor would know what medications a patient has their hands on.


Washington is the first state to do this.


"This is something that we're paving the way on. It hasn't been seen in other states so other states are really looking at that to see how successful that program is," Susan Callahan, Washington State Medical Association said. 


The program is now taking into account people with and without Medicaid. 


They are hoping with this new data about frequent ER users, they will be able to better get information out to patients about the cheapest and best places to get medical attention. 

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