A new cost driver analysis based on commercial health payer data in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database
(CO APCD) shows that Colorado could save an average of $1,150 per visit and over $800 million annually if patients used a clinic or doctor’s office for non-emergent situations.
The report also identifies staggering cost differentials between non-urgent health issues seen in an ER versus an outpatient setting such as a physician’s office or urgent care center:
- Common cold – $709 versus $114
- Acute Bronchitis – $999 versus $126
- Sore Throat – $929 versus $131
- Backache – $1,337 versus $188
- Headache – $2,010 versus $375
According to the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), roughly 40 percent of Colorado’s ER visits occur for non-emergent reasons. Given the estimated 1.8 million visits to Colorado’s ERs annually, that equates to roughly 720,000 potentially avoidable visits and substantial cost savings.
“If you have a true emergency, it’s obviously important to call 911 or go to an ER,” said Ana English, CEO and President for CIVHC. “However, this CO APCD analysis shows that patients and the health system in general could save a lot of money while still receiving the care they need.”