The healthcare industry is grappling with issues tied to avoidable emergency department (ED) visits, a costly trend that serves as an important indicator of lacking care management. In Milwaukee, a community organization is working to reduce ED visits through better community care coordination.

“We consider ED overutilization as two areas,” said Greg Stadter, the program director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP), a program geared toward coordinating care across the region. “One would non-emergent care, so utilization coming from something that’s not a true emergency.”

That avoidable ED utilization has considerable cost risks for healthcare organizations, data from AHRQ shows. Between 13 and 27 percent of ED visits could be referred to a primary care clinic, urgent care center, or retail clinic, thus saving the healthcare industry $4.4 billion annually. ….more