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NJHA project helps reduce non-emergency ED cases

May 14, 2012

A New Jersey demonstration project helped reduce non-emergency visits at two hospital emergency department by 22%, the New Jersey Hospital Association reports. Supported by a $4.8 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and co-led by the NJHA's Health Research and Educational Trust, the project tested a model for providing alternate non-emergency services to patients who presented to the ED with non-urgent primary care needs. After being assessed and provided appropriate services, patients with a regular physician were referred to their primary care provider for a follow-up visit, while others were immediately scheduled an appointment at a partnering federally qualified health center. ED staff educated the patients on the appropriate site of care for various health care needs, while case managers stationed at the ED and health centers arranged transportation and support services; identified repeat ED users; tracked compliance with follow-up care; and assisted with referrals for specialty care. The initiative was supported by electronic systems that could schedule appointments and coordinate care.