Reducing High Emergency Room Bills

Innovations in Jersey City
Save Taxpayers Money

Reducing High Emergency Room BillsA November 3, 2013, Star Ledger article, “New Jersey hospitals reach out to patients to reduce ER visits,” highlights how the Jersey City Medical Center is working reduce emergency room usage by both high and medium frequency users and also to predict where in the city emergency calls will come from.

The “Wealth to Health” program is saving taxpayers money by connecting patients with primary care doctors and specialists. The program also addresses complex needs of emergency room utilizers including alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness.

The Medical Center is using patient data to prevent emergencies and make planning decisions. And Camden and Trenton have their own initiatives to decrease costly repeat emergency room visits.

The article reports, that repeat customers “account for 21% of the nearly $1.3 trillion Americans spend on health care.”

And a recent Washington Post article, “Want to keep people out of the hospital? Make sure they have a place to live” makes the case for supportive housing improving the health of individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

The author profiles success stories of two Medicaid supportive housing tenants in Chicago. The housing program targets individuals who account for the top 3.2% of high-expenditure Medicaid recipients.

“Patients secure impressive support from Medicaid when they need acute medical services. That’s as it should be. Yet it’s surprisingly hard and surprisingly controversial to provide more modest forms of help that are often more beneficial and cost-effective. In Chicago, it costs about $9,000 to house someone for a year in a plain but decent apartment. That’s less than the typical cost of one hospital stay. This $9,000 is hard to find.”

Click here for the full Star-Ledger article.

Click here for the full Washington Post article.