Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Does providing care for uninsured patients decrease emergency room visits and hospitalizations? J Prim Care Community Health 2013 Apr 01;4(2):135-42



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84893666805   10 Citations


BACKGROUND: Access to primary care could reduce use of more costly health care by uninsured individuals through prevention and early treatment. We analyzed data from a program providing free primary care to test this hypothesis.

METHODS: We compared emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations among uninsured, low-income adults who received immediate versus delayed access to a program providing free primary care, including labs, X-rays, and specialty consultation. We used surveys to identify ER visits and hospitalizations during the 12 months preceding and following program enrollment or wait list entry.

RESULTS: Hospitalizations decreased from the year before entry to the year following entry in participants with immediate and delayed (6.0% vs 8.8% decrease) access. ER use also decreased in both groups (11.2% vs 15.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: Free primary care services and specialty consultation did not reduce use of more costly health care services during its first year. More prolonged availability of primary care might have greater impact.

Author List

Mackinney T, Visotcky AM, Tarima S, Whittle J


Theodore MacKinney MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Sergey S. Tarima PhD Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Jeffrey Whittle MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Analysis of Variance
Chronic Disease
Cost Savings
Emergency Service, Hospital
Health Services Accessibility
Medically Uninsured
Models, Organizational
Primary Health Care
Program Evaluation
Propensity Score
Uncompensated Care
jenkins-FCD Prod-486 e3098984f26de787f5ecab75090d0a28e7f4f7c0