Medicaid-financed emergency room costs statewide grew nearly $10 million to $178.3 million in fiscal year 2013.
The increase, from $169.6 million in 2012, came as SoonerCare, the state Medicaid system, expanded to cover for the first time ever more than a quarter of the state’s 3.8 million people.
Emergency room spending rose sharply in spite of a state Health Care Authority effort begun in late 2011 to curb costs by contacting and counseling frequent ER users.
“After-the-fact” intervention programs, like Oklahoma’s, have marginal or no utility, said Jonathan Small, fiscal analyst at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
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