Reducing Inappropriate Emergency Department Usage - Seven Best Practices Program

Author: 
Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA)

The goal of the Seven Best Practices Program is to redirect care to the most appropriate setting, reduce low acuity, and reduce preventable Medicaid emergency room visits. 

The plan, which attempts to address the root of the problem—chronic medical conditions, substance abuse issues, and lack of primary care access—focuses on high users and will:

  1. Track emergency department visits to reduce “ED shopping”;
  2. Implement patient education efforts to re-direct care to the most appropriate setting;
  3. Institute an extensive case management program to reduce inappropriate emergency department utilization by frequent users;
  4. Reduce inappropriate ED visits by collaborative use of prompt (72 hour) visits to primary care physicians and improving access to care;
  5. Implement narcotic guidelines;
  6. Track data on patients prescribed controlled substances by widespread participation in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP); and
  7. Track progress of the plan to make sure steps are working.