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Emergency Medicaid Acquisition Through the Affordable Care Act: The Association Between Hospital Enrollment in California and Hospital Revenue.

Tran LD, Knowlton LM, Wagner TH. Emergency Medicaid Acquisition Through the Affordable Care Act: The Association Between Hospital Enrollment in California and Hospital Revenue. Medical care. 2020 Aug 1; 58(8):727-733.

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BACKGROUND: Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (HPE) is a national policy stemming from the Affordable Care Act that allows qualified hospitals, working with state officials, to enroll eligible patients for temporary Medicaid coverage. Although all states are required to operate an HPE program, hospital participation is elective and variable. It is unclear which hospitals choose to participate in HPE and how participation affects hospital utilization and revenue. OBJECTIVE: We examined hospital factors associated with HPE participation in the state of California and assessed pre and post changes in hospital revenue and utilization for HPE and non-HPE hospitals. RESEARCH DESIGN: We performed a logistic regression to identify hospital attributes associated with HPE participation. We then used a difference in differences methodology with a hospital fixed effect to test whether HPE enrollment was associated with changes in annual revenues by payer source, uncompensated care costs, outpatient visits, and/or discharges. RESULTS: Three quarters (76%) of qualified hospitals elected to participate in HPE by the end of 2018. Hospitals with 100 or more beds had over 10 times greater odds of participating in HPE compared with smaller hospitals. Hospitals that did not provide outpatient care were significantly less likely to participate. Among hospitals included in trend analyses, enrollment in HPE was associated with increased annual net patient Medicaid revenue and decreased uncompensated care charges. We predicted that HPE enrollment was associated with an average of 9.7% (95% confidence interval: 3.4%-16.4%) increase in annual net patient Medicaid revenue. As of 2018, ~33,000 adults and children were enrolled in California''s HPE program per month. CONCLUSION: Hospital enrollment in the HPE program shifted costs from uncompensated care to Medicaid.

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