Health Services Research & Development

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Admon AJ, Valley TS, Ayanian JZ, Iwashyna TJ, Cooke CR, Tipirneni R. Trends in Hospital Utilization After Medicaid Expansion. Medical care. 2019 Apr 1; 57(4):312-317.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Medicaid expansion was associated with an increase in hospitalizations funded by Medicaid. Whether this increase reflects an isolated payer shift or broader changes in case-mix among hospitalized adults remains uncertain. RESEEARCH DESIGN: Difference-in-differences analysis of discharge data from 4 states that expanded Medicaid in 2014 (Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington) and 3 comparison states that did not (North Carolina, Nebraska, and Wisconsin). SUBJECTS: All nonobstetric hospitalizations among patients aged 19-64 years of age admitted between January 2012 and December 2015. MEASURES: Outcomes included state-level per-capita rates of insurance coverage, several markers of admission severity, and admission diagnosis. RESULTS: We identified 6,516,576 patients admitted during the study period. Per-capita admissions remained consistent in expansion and nonexpansion states, though Medicaid-covered admissions increased in expansion states (274.6-403.8 per 100,000 people vs. 268.9-262.8 per 100,000; P<0.001). There were no significant differences after Medicaid expansion in hospital utilization, based on per-capita rates of patients-designated emergent, admitted via the emergency department, admitted via clinic, discharged within 1 day, or with lengths of stay =7 days. Similarly, there were no differences in diagnosis category at admission, admission severity, comorbidity burden, or mortality associated with Medicaid expansion (P>0.05 for all comparisons). CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid expansion was associated with a shift in payers among nonelderly hospitalized adults without significant changes in case-mix or in several markers of acuity. These findings suggest that Medicaid expansion may reduce uncompensated care without shifting admissions practices or acuity among hospitalized adults.