CHA News

Report Examines Trends in Emergency Department Use

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A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) examines emergency department (ED) use across the state from 2005-16, focusing on ED use after 2014 — when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance expansions were fully implemented.

While PPIC notes encouraging findings related to the ACA’s impact, it also identifies a need to more closely examine the role of EDs in an evolving health care system, especially since ED use has grown since 2005.

Key findings include:

  • ACA expansions resulted in a large reduction of the number of uninsured Californians, and did not increase ED use among adults under the age of 65.
  • Among non-elderly adults, women ages 19-34 have the highest rates of ED use, due in part to pregnancy-related visits.
  • Approximately 90 percent of ED visits are outpatient visits.
  • Since 2005, ED outpatient use has increased substantially across all demographic groups and for all reasons.