Unnecessary ED visits cost Virginians $91M

The Virginia Health Information agency estimates that about 13% of emergency department (ED) visits in 2018 could have been avoided, saving approximately $91M.

 

Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.

 

Using data from the Virginia All Payer Claims Database (APCD), the agency found the total cost of avoidable ED visits to be $103 million and the cost of similar care by a primary care provider (PCP) would have cost $12 million.

According to the data, 30% of the total unnecessary visits were for upper respiratory infection, costing $385 per visit compared to $77 at a PCP. Twenty-one percent of the visits were for urinary tract infections, which cost an average of $938 per visit versus $79 at a PCP.

In 2020, unnecessary office visits increased in the commonwealth by 2.8%, which is less than the national average of 8.8%.

Overall, Virginia’s hospitals outperformed the national average in 78% of all Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality measures. Virginia achieved a higher than average score in 54% of the measures and lower scores in 40% of the measures.