The NY Times is reporting today that some hospital systems are experimenting with free preventative care to reduce the much higher write-offs of emergency room admissions – as a means of dealing with the uninsured.
Denver’s public system, Denver Health, has 41,000 uninsured patients enrolled in its clinics. Officials there calculate that for every dollar they spend on prenatal care for uninsured women, they save more than $7 in newborn and child care.
Officials scrutinize the records of plan members to see who is still overusing the emergency room or being repeatedly hospitalized — these high-cost patients total some 40 each month — then assign them caseworkers to help improve care and bring down costs. A special effort to educate 631 asthma patients saved the plan $475,000 in one year.
There are creative ways to deal with this area’s health issues. If county government would use a little of its $31M windfall, we might come up with some innovative programs.
Here is the whole NYT article: To Lower Costs, Hospitals Try Free Basic Care for Uninsured