Uninsured, Medicaid Patients Receive Less Medical Imaging in the ED

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Researchers looking at a national survey of 600 hospitals found the uninsured and Medicaid enrollees receive fewer medical imaging procedures during emergency room visits.

The study in the current issue of the Journal of American College of Radiology examined the 2004 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, covering more than 24,000 non-elderly patients around the country. Out of those, roughly 50% were insured, 30% Medicaid and 20% uninsured.

Anything from an x-ray to a PET scan was considered an imaging service.

The research concludes that Medicaid patients and the uninsured receive 10% and 8%, respectively, fewer medical imaging services in the emergency department. Study authors deemed they received 19% and 13% less value, measured by Relative Value Units under Medicare.

There are currently around 51 million Americans that lack health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And 1-in-3 Americans had a disruption in coverage in 2006 and 2007.

For the full text of the study click here.