New Study puts Maine at Number Four in the Nation in Emergency Room Visits per Capita.

(NEWS CENTER Maine) — A new study puts Maine at number four in the country in emergency room visits per capita. A study conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation collected data for community hospitals, representing 85% of all hospitals between the years 2012 and 2016. Not included in the study Federal hospitals, long term care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and others, according to the study.

The top area listed for ER visits per 1,000 people is Washington D.C. The nation’s capital has the highest percentage due, in part to the increase in crime around the area, according to the website MedicareHealthPlans.

The States with the Most ER Visits

  1. Washington D-C
  2. West Virginia
  3. Mississippi
  4. Maine
  5. Ohio
Maine Hospital Emergency Room Visits per 1,000 People
MAINE US
2016 489 440
2015 725 441
2014 580 428
2013 599 423
2012 595 424

Northern Lights Eastern Maine Medical center says the amount of Emergency Department visitors is similar to the study’s timeframe. Dr. James Jarvis, Sr. Vice President and Sr. Physician Executive, and Dr. Michael Melia, Chief of Emergency Medicine, say there are multiple factors landing Maine in the top 5, but EMMC is actually seeing sicker patients arrive in our emergency department than we would in other parts of the country.

“We are, if not close to the oldest state in the nation, so that already brings unique challenges to us,” said Dr. Jarvis. “We are an underinsured state. The decision was made not to expand Medicaid in the state of Maine. In fact, we actually contracted the number of patients that are covered under Medicaid that would leave us with a number of patients that is either under or uninsured in our state.”

““There is more rural medicine in Maine then if you were in New York City,” said Dr. Melia. “Some people are going to seek care for acute things as opposed to going on long trips to go see a doctor for routine medicine.”

Dr. Jarvis says it is easier for patients to get to the ER than a primary care doctor. Many patients have transportation issues to get to proper care.

“It is easier to call 911 and have an ambulance come to your house than it is to get a taxi cab, a friend or a relative or Uber to come to your house,” said Dr. Jarvis. “For some people it winds up for them being cheaper and they are going to get taken to an emergency room and not a doctor’s office.”

Another concern is what the hospital calls ‘super utilizers.’ Patients that continuously frequent the Emergency Department.

“We do have certain individuals who will seek care at the emergency department hundreds of times a year and that certainly taxes the system,” said Dr. Melia. “We try and put resources for those individuals to find out why are they super utilizers and what resources are necessary in order to keep them away from the ED and get them the care they needed.”

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157 Mainers die every year that we don’t accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage

Maine People's Alliance
Robin,I had an incredibly fun and insightful interview with Mainers for Health Care (Yes on 2) campaign manager Jennie Pirkl on the Beacon podcast this week, and something she said got me thinking.

She reminded me that the best evidence we have indicates that about 157 Mainers die every year we fail to accept federal funding to expand health coverage through Medicaid. Over the last few years, we’ve seen it happen. We know some of their names. We’ve read their obituaries.

157 people a year over the next couple decades is more than 3,000 lives that could be saved and only 220,000 people voted in the last odd-year referendum election.

So, if Question 2 passes with a bare majority, it will save about one life for every 35 votes.

35 votes! That’s one radio ad! That’s a couple shifts of knocking on doors!

This election matters and it has never been easier to make a difference. You could literally save someone’s life. Visit www.mainersforhealthcare.org to give some money or volunteer right now.

Also on Beacon recently:

Thanks as always for your feedback and for sharing these pieces on social media.

Keep up the fight!

-Mike

Mike Tipping
MPA Communications Director
mike@mainepeoplesalliance.org

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