Recent data shows that consumers may save money by avoiding visits to emergency departments for care that can be provided in lower-cost settings, such as a physician's office. UnitedHealth Group reported that hospital emergency department costs were 12 times higher than at a physician office and ten times higher than at an urgent care center, according to 2018 data.
In Virginia, the latest figures collected by VHI show a potential savings of $100 million when comparing the total cost for avoidable emergency department visits and the total cost for similar care by a primary care practitioner (PCP). Using data from the Virginia All Payer Claims Database, VHI identified that about 14% of the analyzed 1.5 million emergency department visits could have been avoided and treated with lower cost care in a PCP's office in 2017.
Have you been visiting the emergency department for any of the commonly avoidable categories in your region? Take a look and see. We created an interactive dashboard that allows you to organize the data by region, county and insurance type. You'll also see information on the rates of the potentially avoidable categories based on how you decide to organize the data. Respiratory infections and urinary tract infections make up over half of the avoidable visits in emergency departments in every region in the Commonwealth. Depending on the region, ear infections, back problems and headaches were the next avoidable categories with the most visits.
Take advantage of our free, online resources to help you make better informed healthcare decisions. Visit www.vhi.org for more.
Stay healthy, Virginia!