You are talking with your colleagues at lunch while browsing through some news headlines. Sonja, a coworker, shares a story about the increasing number of Medicaid patients that are using the Emergency Department of hospitals as primary care providers. She tells the group that according to the article this is causing a significant increase in the costs of healthcare and utilization of health resources, but it could result in less of a cost to the patients. Hal, another coworker, makes a statement that he believes Medicaid patients should not be allowed to use emergency services unless the condition is a true emergency, like a life or death situation
- Should Medicaid patients be allowed to bypass their primary care physician's office and utilize the Emergency Department for non-emergency services? Why or why not?
- What do you think are some reasons that Medicaid patients are using the ER rather than making an appointment with their primary care physician?
- What changes would you make to the Medicaid program to encourage the patient go to the office for services instead of the Emergency Department?