Emergency Room Use Rose Slightly After Implementation of Massachusetts Healthcare Law

Published Online: March 21, 2014

Emergency department usage in Massachusetts rose slightly both during and immediately after implementation of a 2006 state law expanding health care access, a sign that broader availability of insurance may increase use of the ED, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers report in a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The review of 13.3 million visits from 2004-2009 suggests multiple factors – including access to , pent up demand for , and the 24-hour availability and perceived efficiency of care in the ED – must also be weighed in assessing the likely impact of the federal Affordable Care Act on ED use.

"Increasing the rate of insurance may have reduced financial barriers to care while minimally impacting barriers to accessing timely care outside the emergency department," says lead author Peter B. Smulowitz, MD, MPH, an emergency physician at BIDMC and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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Source: Medical Xpress