Indexed on: 24 Feb '05Published on: 24 Feb '05Published in: Annals of Emergency Medicine
We evaluate the effectiveness of an emergency department (ED)-based outreach program in increasing the enrollment of uninsured children.The study involved placing a full-time worker trained to enroll uninsured children into Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program in an inner-city academic children's hospital ED. Analysis was carried out for outpatient ED visits by insurance status, average revenue per patient from uninsured and insured children, proportion of patients enrolled in Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program through this program, estimated incremental revenue from new enrollees, and program-specific incremental costs. A cost-benefit analysis and breakeven analysis was conducted to determine the impact of this intervention on ED revenues.Five thousand ninety-four uninsured children were treated during the 10 consecutive months assessed, and 4,667 were treated during program hours. One thousand eight hundred and three applications were filed, giving a program penetration rate of 39%. Eighty-four percent of applications filed were resolved (67% of these were Medicaid). Average revenue from each outpatient ED visit for Medicaid was US135.68 dollars, other insurance was US210.43 dollars, and uninsured was US15.03 dollars. Estimated incremental revenue for each uninsured patient converted to Medicaid was US120.65 dollars. Total annualized incremental revenue was US224,474 dollars, and the net incremental revenue, after accounting for program costs, was US157,414 dollars per year.A program enrolling uninsured children at an inner-city pediatric ED into government insurance was effective and generated revenue that paid for program costs.