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Medi-Cal Patients Major Factor In Surge In California Emergency Dept. Visits

Aired 9/18/13 on KPBS News.

The number of patients visiting California emergency departments has increased. A new report reveals Medi-Cal patients have powered the surge.

— There's been a surge in visits to California emergency rooms and Medi-Cal patients have played a big role. A new report doesn't bode well for Obamacare, which could add an estimated 2.9 million people to the Medi-Cal program.

UC San Francisco researchers looked at emergency department visits between 2005 and 2010. During that period, visits increased by 13 percent overall. Among people on Medi-Cal, visits increased by 35 percent.

Researchers concluded the surge by Medi-Cal patients could reflect decreasing access to primary care.

San Diego doctor Ted Mazer said physicians have been warning state officials about that for years.

"'I told you so' sounds nasty," Mazer said. "It's not 'I told you so.' It's 'Read the writing on the wall.' It's been there, now here's more evidence of that."

Mazer pointed out a growing number of doctors won't treat Medi-Cal patients because Medi-Cal payment rates don't cover their costs.

The California Medical Association predicts that access to care for people on Medi-Cal could be a major challenge when Obamacare kicks in Jan. 1st.

Comments

Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | September 19, 2013 at 9:24 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

I have been saying this for a while here. My wife and I have been getting all of our exams done now. When the Obamacare groups hits, you will have problems getting an appointment for 2 reasons. First will be the shear number of folks in the system. Second is, many doctors near retirement age are doing so. Emergency rooms will be packed. Saw it in another state. The welfare group used to take their kids there instead of going to CVS for cold medicine. The dopers went looking for a quick high. Believe it.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | September 19, 2013 at 9:38 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

_uckkkapoo1, you took a survey?

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | September 19, 2013 at 10:01 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

Missues, I saw it there and my daughter is an emergency room nurse. Get you necessary exams now !!!!! PS: there is a way to beat the emergency room waits. Ancient Muckapoo1 secret tho.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | September 19, 2013 at 11:05 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

M1,

ERs are crowded because "reasonable laypersons" are outnumbered by unreasonable ones. Then again, the medical professions would not be as lucrative as they are if everyone were as informed as your daughter. Funny how that works.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | September 20, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

Hope you wait in line a long time when your day comes.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | September 20, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. ― 11 months, 1 week ago

Why do you hope I wait in a long line? My response was neutral and factual:

1) Most people don't know if their condition can or can't wait.

2) Because most people aren't medical experts and can't heal themselves, jobs for techs, nurses and physicians are plentiful and well-paying. There's plenty of work in ERs for anyone whose qualified to work there.

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