By Joshua Tamayo-Sarver, MD, PhD, FACEP
It's halfway through 2014, and the Reform Realtime data set has matured considerably. This means we're now able to make more meaningful comparisons by controlling for factors like month, year, hospital and geographic location. We're also able to more confidently identify patients covered by state and federal health exchanges.
Being a numbers guy, I'm really excited about this. I've been really curious about the impact of reform on ED volumes (which appear to be rising) and reimbursement (which we all hope will rise).
But as often happens with data, once I started running ours through computer models, I found something unexpected, but equally interesting:
Patients covered through state and federal health exchanges were more likely to present to the ED with high-acuity conditions.
In fact, their overall acuity (on a 5-point scale) was 4.10 versus 3.98 for the non-exchange population. These numbers hold even when controlling for factors like gender and age.