WA State plans to limit ED visits for Medicaid patients for non-emergencies. The core of the debate right now is to define what is an emergency and what is not and for what type of patients. With the new plan, they can go to the ED only 3 times per year for non-emergencies and they would be notified about it.
From a patient’s perspective, if they are not able to find a primary care doctor to treat them, and most primary care doctors avoid Medicaid patients due to poor reimbursement, they would go to the ER.
All this boils down to rising healthcare costs. The state has limited budget to run this program and they are trying different ways to ensure that the limited fund is well utilized. At the same time Medicaid patients have to bear the brunt of this and dig deep into their pockets, which is limited already.
Read more about it at http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/washington-state-er-docs-file-lawsuit-against-new-medicaid-plan?topic=29