Impact of a low intensity and broadly inclusive ED care coordination intervention on linkage to primary care and ED utilization

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Objective:We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a broadly inclusive, comparatively low intensity intervention linking ED patients to a primary care home.Methods:This retrospective cohort study evaluated ED patients referred for primary care linkage in a large, urban, academic ED. A care coordination specialist performed a brief interview to gauge access barriers and provide a clinic referral with optional scheduling assistance. Data were abstracted from program records and the electronic medical record. The primary outcome was the proportion of referred individuals who attended at least one primary care appointment.Secondary outcomes included return ED encounters within one year, and factors associated with linkage outcomes.Results:There were 2142 referrals made for 2064 patients; 1688/2142 accepted assistance. Linkage was successful for 1059/1688 (63%, CI95 60% to 65%). Among patients accepting assistance, those without successful linkage were younger (41 vs 45 years, difference 3 years, CI95 2 to 3), more often male (62% vs 55%,difference 7%, CI95 2% to 12%), and less likely to have a chronic medical condition (37% vs 45%, difference 8%; CI95 3% to 12%) or to have had an appointment scheduled within two weeks (26% vs 33%, difference 7%, CI95 2% to 12%). Insurance status and self-reported barriers to care were not associated with linkage success. Patterns of subsequent ED use were similar, regardless of referral status or linkage outcome.Conclusion:Low intensity, broadly inclusive, ED care coordination linked nearly 50% of patients referred for intervention, and two-thirds of willing participants, with a primary care home.

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