Contact: Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (608) 266-0610

MADISON – Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly approved Assembly Bill 871, authored by Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek) and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) that will allow for the implementation of intensive care coordination programs, a unique healthcare model aimed at reducing the number of visits for Medicaid recipients that are high utilizers of emergency department services.

“Many emergency rooms, especially in the greater Milwaukee area, are overburdened with emergency room visits from patients that would be better served by visiting a primary doctor,” said Rodriguez. “This proposal will facilitate better care for these patients and reduce costs for hospitals and the state.”

Intensive care coordination reduces healthcare costs for high utilizers and hospitals by connecting patients with a coordinator at the hospital. The program requires hospitals identify high utilizers and work with patients to reduce visits by assigning a primary care provider and a social worker to help identify the root cause of frequent ER visits.

In 2016, more than 10,000 people visited emergency departments seven or more times at an estimated cost of $53.5 million. This small group accounted for 111,000 ER visits last year.

Similar programs at Aurora St. Luke’s and Sinai in Milwaukee, have demonstrated significant savings reducing overall emergency room visits by 44 percent over a six month period and by 77 percent over 7-12 month period.

“Wisconsin has always been a leader when it comes to developing innovate methods that increase access to care while controlling costs. We are once again leading with this innovative proposal that has the potential to save the state millions of dollars in Medicaid costs and improve overall health care for MA patients,” said Rodriguez.

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