Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Emergency Department Use Analysis

Across the nation, emergency departments (EDs) are seen as the most accessible and immediate venue for health care services. Regardless of insurance status, many believe that getting to primary care services is too difficult or inconvenient and so individuals seek care in an ED. Research has also found that individuals sometimes consider their health concerns more emergent than they truly are, and therefore make an unnecessary trip to the ED for care.

Through its partnership with the Employee Benefits Division (EBD) at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, ACHI conducted an analysis of ED claims filed by EBD members for 2010 and 2011. The results showed that ED services came at an average annual cost to EBD of $20.8 million for the 2 years. Members themselves paid around $2.8 million over a 2-year period. The national average cost for an ED visit was $1,349 per person. ACHI found that EBD’s average was slightly lower at $1,128 per person. These costs reflect a substantial significant amount of EBD’s overall expenditures, and certainly contribute to the premiums paid by both Arkansas state employees and the state’s public school employees.  

Our research also showed that of those who visited the ED (14 percent of the total member population in 2010 or 2011), the majority only visited once a year, and did not require admission into the hospital.  The demographics of the subpopulation who used the ED roughly matched those of the entire EBD member population. Overall, we found results similar to those in national studies. You can read the entire research brief of the project through the link below.


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Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
1401 West Capitol
Suite 300 (Victory Building)
Little Rock, AR 72201