Health, Systems, and Policy Research

Emergency department and inpatient utilization among U.S. older adults with multiple chronic conditions: a post-reform update

SangNam Ahn, PhD, MSPA

BMC Health Services Research, volume 20, Article number: 77 (2020)

Older Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions increased emergency department (ED) visits but decreased inpatient utilization throughout the course of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study published in BMC Health Services Research.

Dr. SangNam Ahn, University of Memphis School of Public Health, led the study with other researchers including Dr. Mustafa Hussein of University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Dr. Asos Mahmood of University of Memphis School of Public Health, and Dr. Matthew Lee Smith of Texas A&M School of Public Health.

The Affordable Care Act was enacted to improve access to care primarily among nonelderly and low-income populations; however, there were several key provisions to address determinants of emergency department (ED) and inpatient visits among Medicare beneficiaries over age 65 years.

In the current study, the researchers wanted to take stack of the overall changes in ED and inpatient visits among older Medicare beneficiaries, focusing on those with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs), and provide a nationally representative post-reform update.

The team of investigators found sizable increases in ED visits and nontrivial decreases in inpatient visits among older Medicare beneficiaries with MCCs.

The study findings underscore the continuing need for improving access to and quality of care among older adults with MCCs to decrease reliance on the ED and reduce preventable hospitalizations.


Adverse Childhood Experiences

SangNam Ahn, PhD, MSPA

Dr. Ahn investigates the moderating roles of social support in the deleterious effect of multiple chronic conditions on late-life depression, as well as the devastating effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on childhood obesity. Click here for a complete description, here for the research poster, and here for access to the full research paper.