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Sicker Medicaid, Medicare emergency patients less profitable

Reuters, October 11, 2013
When a patient with private health insurance seeks outpatient care at the emergency room, the sicker he or she is, the more money the hospital stands to make, a new study shows. But the opposite is true for patients with Medicaid or Medicare insurance: the sicker the patient, the less profitable he or she is to the hospital, Dr. Philip Henneman of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and his colleagues report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The results suggest hospitals that seek to move outpatient services off-site (for example, to stand-alone "doc-in-a-box" clinics) may wind up losing money, according to Henneman.