Northern Kentucky hospital sees rise in ER Medicaid visits while overall usage is down

08/15/2014 05:43 PM

EDGEWOOD – Since the Affordable Care Act and Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid program went into effect, some Kentucky hospitals have reported an increase in emergency room usage for non-emergency cases.

Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, for one, has reported a 12 percent increase in emergency room usage.

But, that’s not the case everywhere. St. Elizabeth Hospital in Northern Kentucky has seen emergency room usage slightly down at four of their five area hospitals.

“Here in Northern Kentucky, through St. Elizabeth Physicians, we’ve had an opening of several urgent care centers and express care centers which are places where patients can drop in and get care without an appointment,” said Bob Pritchard, Chief Medical Officer, St. Elizabeth Hospitals. “We’ve seen, actually, pretty good utilization of those.”

Nearly three out of four newly insured through kynect qualified for the Medicaid expansion. Many of the newly insured did not have prior coverage and are still learning how to access their benefits. To combat that, kynect is developing some basic “insurance 101” materials to help guide them through the process.

A booklet containing the information will be distributed at this year’s Kentucky State Fair.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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