Evaluation of Emergency Department Utilization at a Primary Care Center for the Uninsured

Sanders, Annie D., and Arthurine D. Brown

Aims: The aims of this study are to 1) evaluate Emergency Department (ED) utilization for nonurgent services before and after being assigned a Primary Care Provider (PCP) at a Primary Care Center and 2) to determine/ identify if any particular demographics are predictive of ED utilization for nonurgent services.

Methods: Patients assigned a Primary Care Provider were contacted by phone to complete a 5 item survey and demographic questions.

Results: Of the 44 participants in the study, 24 (54.5%) reported ED utilization prior to being assigned a Primary Care Provider at the Primary Care Center, and 14 (31.8%) reported ED utilization after being assigned a Primary Care Provider, a decline of 10 or (22.7%). Demographics information tended to be black (84.6%), females (23%), and unemployed (61%), with a mean age of 46. There was one black male, age 54 who worked part time who utilized ED services after assignment to a Primary Care Provider.  

Conclusion: The study did show that assigning a Primary Care Provider did decrease ED utilization. This could relate to assigning a Primary Care Provider or possibly improvement in their health status. Predictive demographics could relate to a small sample size which trended towards black, females, unemployed and with a mean age of 46.