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Sequester May Add to Hospital Emergency Department Pressures

According to a study by researchers at the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University (PDF), the budget sequester may force nearly a million new patients to the nation’s Emergency Departments (EDs).

This is due to a $120 million cut to community health centers.

These cuts will affect 1,200 centers, operating at 8,500 locations and serving primarily low-income residents, and will likely force most of those residents needing care into emergency departments across America.

The sudden shift of so many patients to already crowded emergency rooms may become a logistical nightmare for unprepared and already overburdened hospitals.

TeleTracking® solutions can help alleviate the challenge by unclogging patient flow and freeing up capacity throughout the hospital, and including the Emergency Department. This type of operational efficiency reduces or eliminates ED boarding and allows emergency personnel to tend to emergent problems.

The researchers concluded that the $120 million in grant funding losses would create an additional loss of $230 million in third-party insurance funding. They also cautioned that because little detail has been provided on implementing the sequester, the study was only an “initial assessment” of its impact on the health centers.

In addition, The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says $11 billion will be cut from Medicare, and half of that will be to hospitals. These cuts, which began April 1 of this year, herald a two percent maximum reduction over 10 years which will total $40 billion. Along with that, prescription drug benefits will be cut by $591 million.

All of this adds up to more headaches for hospitals and emergency departments. If you haven’t discovered the benefits of automated patient flow and capacity management, we’d love the opportunity to introduce you to TeleTracking. Nearly 900 hospitals across the country rely on our solutions to protect their mission while improving their margin.

You can read more on this topic by clicking on Sequester expected to sock health centers on ModernHealthcare.com (note that you will need to register to gain free web access to the article).

 

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