More than one-third of U.S. emergency rooms, 36.1%, serve a disproportionately high number of Medicaid or uninsured patients, and the burden isn't necessarily offset by public funding, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than half of the high-burden ERs received disproportionate-share payments, the CDC said, based on a 2000 federal survey and reports of Medicaid disproportionate-share payments. Typically the ERs either treated a high number of Medicaid patients or a high number of uninsured, and less often the two combined. High-burden ERs were more likely to be in Southern states and more likely to be in areas with fewer primary-care physicians than other areas. Overall, they saw a higher proportion of nonurgent or emergent cases than other ERs, and their patients included more blacks and more children but fewer seniors, the CDC said. Read the CDC report. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Public funds fall short of safety-net burden: CDC
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