In 2008, Kern Medical Center established a Care Management Program (CMP) for low-income adults identified as frequent users of hospital services. Frequent users are defined as having 4 or more emergency department (ED) visits or admissions, 3 or more admissions, or 2 or more admissions and 1 ED visit within 1 year. The CMP helps patients access primary care and medical and social resources.
To determine whether the CMP reduces ED visits and hospitalizations among frequent users.
Between August 2007 and January 2010, a retrospective analysis was conducted using Kern Medical Center encounter data. ED visits and inpatient visits were compared pre- and postenrollment for care managed patients (n = 98). The analysis included a comparison group (n = 160) of frequent users matched on the basis of race and age. Multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate the difference in utilization between groups, and to adjust for potential group differences.
There was a reduction in the median number of ED visits per year from 6.0 ± 5.0 (median ± interquartile range) pre-enrollment to 3.0 ± 4.2 postenrollment (P < 0.0001). The difference in inpatient admissions pre- and postenrollment was 0.0 ± 1.0 (P < 0.0001). After adjusting for multiple factors, multivariate analysis demonstrated that care managed patients had a 32% lower risk of visiting the ED than the comparison group (P < 0.0001). There was no difference in inpatient admissions between groups.
CMP that helps patients navigate the health care system and access social and medical resources show significant promise in reducing ED utilization.
From the *COPE Health Solutions, Los Angeles, CA; †Division of Biostatistics, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA; ‡Department of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; and ¶David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Department of Medicine at Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, CA.
Reprints: Sarita A. Mohanty, MD, MPH, COPE Health Solutions, 2400 S. Flower Street, Lowman Building, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90007. E-mail: email@example.com.