Inappropriate, avoidable use of the emergency department (ED) is an expensive indication of the opportunity to deliver better-coordinated, more comprehensive care. There are a multitude of reasons patients use the ED for conditions that could be treated, or prevented, in a different care setting: they range from convenience to unfamiliarity with the health care system to insufficient off-hour access to other types of providers. Safety Net Health Plans, along with the providers and hospitals in their provider networks, are implementing initiatives that address avoidable ED use.

This fact sheet outlines six efforts under way at Safety Net Health Plans across the country to reduce inappropriate and avoidable ED use. These initiatives cover a wide range of approaches, including expanded after-hours primary and urgent care options, care coordination and data sharing through health homes, identification and targeting of high-utilization members, health navigator programs, supporting post-discharge care transitions into the community, and implementing a streamlined and integrated care model.

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