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Hospitals target emergency room 'super-utilizers' to cut down on costs

The Courier Journal, April 15, 2013

In less than two years, Dennis Manners was treated 337 times at University Hospital's emergency room — sometimes after passing out drunk in the street and being brought in by ambulance. Usually, it wasn't an emergency. But Manners nonetheless racked up $626,143 in charges he couldn't pay. Then hospital officials stepped in, enrolling Manners in a new program that aims to stop the inappropriate use of the emergency department by such costly "super-utilizers." For about $6,000, they found the 54-year-old formerly homeless man a primary-care doctor and a neurologist to treat a seizure disorder, got him into a substance-abuse treatment and helped get him an apartment.