A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Washington State implementing a law starting October 1, 2011 that limited the amount of ER visits for Medicaid patients to three visits a year. Many physicians, including myself felt it was extremely dangerous to place these limits on patients. The Washington State chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Seattle Children's Hospital, Washington State Medical Association, and the Washington State Hospital Association filed a lawsuit challenging this. Yesterday the Court lifted the limit on the ER visits.
Of note, when they looked closer at the numbers they discovered that 97 percent of Washington's Medicaid clients did't even exceed three ER visits a year. "They blamed a "small, but expensive group" of patients for running up large numbers of visits. Some of those patients have more than 100 visits a year, often for chronic conditions and a need for painkillers, officials said."