The Richmond Register

Local News

July 17, 2013

Kentucky 1 of 7 states aiming at cutting back on ER visits

FRANKFORT — At or near the top of every list of ways health-care reformers see to hold down medical costs is unnecessary visits to hospital emergency rooms, usually by people on public assistance or unable to pay for the service.

In 2012 alone, Kentucky Medicaid spent more than $219 million on emergency room visits. During the same year, 4,400 of Kentucky’s Medicaid clients used the emergency 10 or more times. One went 121 times to the emergency room and another used the ER 30 separate times.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced on Wednesday that Kentucky is one of seven states chosen by the National Governors Association to work together to find ways to improve state health care and target care for such “super-utilizers” of costly medical services at ERs.

Such people often wait to seek medical attention until problems become acute — or they simply use the ER as their primary care provider.

But outside of trauma events, ER services tend to be less effective and far more costly. One of the ways Kentucky’s Medicaid Managed Care system aims to hold down growth in overall Medicaid costs is by reducing visits to ERs through more preventive care and placing Medicaid recipients with primary care providers.

On top of that, Kentucky ranks at or near the bottom of national health ratings including for such diseases as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Kentucky Medicaid Commissioner Larry Kissner told lawmakers in May and June that emergency room visits as well as the number of prescriptions written for Medicaid recipients have declined since the implementation of managed care.

But in announcing Kentucky’s participation in multi-state effort to provide more coordination and targeted services for super-utilizers he said further reductions in the number of ER visits and costs are needed.

“Across the nation an understanding has been growing that we must focus our efforts on providing the best in coordinated care, helping to direct individuals who may be using more expensive, less effective services to more cost-efficient preventive services that provide better health outcomes in the long run,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office.

“It is by achieving these outcomes that we will build a healthier future for Kentucky,” he said.

The Developing State-Level Capacity to Support Super-Utilizers program is designed to help states create regulations, data systems, financing systems and relationships with providers and other stake holders in the delivery of high-quality, comprehensive services for those over using ER services.

The other participating states in the collaborative program are Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wisconsin as well as Puerto Rico. Funding is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies.

They will receive assistance from the NGA staff and faculty experts, private consultants and research organizations.

“Kentucky has too long lagged behind in health rankings, and now is the time for us to begin truly moving the needle in the right direction,” said Audrey Tayse Haynes, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services which houses Medicaid.

“By participating in this national effort,’ Haynes said, “we can learn what has worked for other states and share Kentucky’s experience as well.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-26 Stockyards 2.jpg Cattle farmers enjoying ‛perfect storm’

    Demand is up, and cattle are selling for record prices.

    At the same time, corn prices are down and fuel prices have stabilized.

    That adds up to a “perfect storm” for Kentucky cattle farmers, said Gary Kelly of Paint Lick as he ate lunch Friday with his brother Jimmy at the restaurant across from the Blue Grass Stockyards.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-26 Fire Practice Structure 1.jpg Fire training tower going up

    A new training tower for the Richmond Fire Department is rising on Four Mile Road.

    Construction began Thursday on the four-story, steel-framed structure.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pavement work to restrict I-75 in Rockcastle County

    Beginning Sunday until about the end of November, Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County will be reduced to one lane in each direction between mile points 58 and 66 for pavement work.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jailed woman charged with heroin trafficking

    A Richmond woman already jailed on another charge was served with a drug trafficking warrant Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • County’s jobless rate improves

    Madison County’s unemployment rate for June, 6.5 percent, was a full percentage point lower than a year earlier and 0.2 points lower than in May.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25 Camp Invention 1.jpg Young inventors turn trash to treasure

    The first day of Camp Invention began with a room full of objects ready to be recycled, Sarah Shaffer, director of the camp said Thursday.

    July 24, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-25 William Gilbert.jpg Four arrested on meth charges at Berea motel

    Berea Police arrested four people Wednesday at the Knights Inn on Chestnut Street, including a man they said tried to conceal a meth lab on his person.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • Fridays, Saturdays added to depot’s detonation calendar

    The Blue Grass Army Depot is adjusting its weekly schedule for detonating obsolete and unserviceable conventional explosives because of a higher-than-normal number of delays this season.

    July 24, 2014

  • County, cities asked to ban indoor smoking

    The Madison County Health Board voted 9-1 Wednesday to ask the county’s three local governing bodies to ban smoking in indoor public places.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-24 4-H Entries 1.jpg 4-H exhibits are family affair for the Houstons

    Five children from the same family were the first to bring their 4-H exhibits Wednesday to the Madison County Fairgrounds.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results