Study: Discharge Diagnosis No Easy Answer for Deterring ED Visits
March 21—Discharge diagnoses cannot be reliably used as the basis for policies discouraging emergency department (ED) use, according to a study published in JAMA.
To cut healthcare costs, one policy consideration on state and federal levels has been to deny payment if the patient's diagnosis upon ED discharge appears to reflect a nonemergency condition.
However, in a study of nearly 35,000 ED visits, of which 6.3 percent were ultimately determined to have a primary care-treatable diagnosis, a substantial proportion required immediate emergency care or hospital admission, the study concluded.
Researchers for the study, Comparison of Presenting Complaint vs. Discharge Diagnosis for Identifying “Nonemergency” Emergency Department Visits, used ED visit records from the 2009 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for the analysis.
Publication Date: Thursday, March 21, 2013