A recent report on emergency room use from the Washington Health Care Authority is receiving a lot of media attention. According to the report, an initiative to reduce “unnecessary” emergency room visits is on track to generate savings of up to $31 million per year.
The Seattle Times article notes that helping Medicaid patients avoid dental emergencies is another key goal of the coalition of medical providers and state officials looking to save money by reducing ER use.
According to KUOW’s coverage, dental emergencies are a large part of the problem. “Without preventive care, many (patients) end up in the ER with a dental emergency that the ER is not equipped to handle.”
One way to avoid patients coming into emergency rooms with dental pain is for the Legislature to restore dental coverage for low-income adults this session. Preventing dental disease saves money, improves health and keeps people out of the ER.