Citing Medicaid Limits, ED Docs Sue WA State

Emergency physicians in the state of Washington have filed a lawsuit against a state plan to classify more than 700 diagnoses as non-emergent, and limit Medicaid reimbursements to no more than three non-emergent visits to the emergency department each year.

4 comments on "Citing Medicaid Limits, ED Docs Sue WA State"
Julie Lohman (10/18/2011 at 6:46 PM)

Medicaid has allowed their clients to receive this kind of care for years - they are not introducing an approach that would ease these clients into the new culture - the patients and the hospitals are going to suffer radically for the culture that medicaid allowed -It could be interpreted that they errored and the patient and hospital will be punished.
Louise B. Andrew MD JD (10/8/2011 at 5:46 PM)

This is a blatant attempt to cut costs in order to meet a state budget, by circumventing federal "prudent layperson" law and forcing Emergency physicians to assume financial responsibility for screening indigent patients for emergencies. The state provides no other mechanism to do so. Other federal law (EMTALA) requires that it be done. So ED's are left as the safety net, which also must eat the costs. Attempting to frame this as a drug seeking or ED abuse issue is disingenuous at best and ill-informed at least. It will probably take a few out-of-hospital deaths of Medicaid patients with so called "non emergent" presenting complaints to make this issue public enough that the law will be changed legislatively, if the lawsuit is unsuccessful at toppling an unsound, fiscally motivated, and basically unconscionable piece of legislation.
Lisa Barber RN (10/5/2011 at 4:33 PM)

This program discriminates against poor and rural areas that have limited number of clinic physicians and no Urgent care clinics available. This proposal will cause patients needing care to wait until they are much sicker before seeking care and end up causing the tax payers more money. As the director of a rural emergency department, most patients we see frequently have psychiatric issues or have learning dosabilities and have difficulty understanding the difference between clinic care and emergency care. They only know they need help.
anonymous (10/4/2011 at 10:39 PM)

One of the exclusion criteria is arrival by ambulance. I guess we now know how all medicaid patients will arrive in the ED in Washington state now.


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