KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study: Only 42% Of Acute Care Visits Are Made To Personal Physicians

Only 42 percent of yearly acute care visits in the U.S. are made to patients' personal physicians, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs.

CQ Healthbeat: "'The rest are made to emergency departments (28 percent), specialists (20 percent), or outpatient departments (7 percent),' said the study. ... 'One of the biggest barriers to acute care in primary care practice is many office-based practitioners' busy schedules' that frustrate quick access to care and in many instances lead to the referral of more complex cases to specialists and emergency rooms, the study concluded. In a separate analysis released Tuesday, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said that the overhaul law is going to 'dramatically expand the use of emergency room care, as Medicaid's low reimbursement rates limit beneficiaries' access to primary care physicians.' ... Holtz-Eakin prepared the study for the American Action Forum, which opposes the overhaul law" (9/7).

Medical News Today: "According to the authors, health reform provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were included so that advance patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations could improve access to acute care. However, the challenge for reform, according to study authors, will be to succeed in the complex acute care landscape that already exists" (Nordqvist, 9/7).

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