One in Six Emergency Department Visits For Children in Oregon Is Preventable

July 18, 2012 Q Corp

Eliminating preventable visits could save $26.8 million a year, according to a new report that includes ED visits per county.

PORTLAND, ORE. (July 18, 2012) – Of the one in six potentially avoidable emergency department visits for children in Oregon, over 90 percent result from eight common conditions, according to a new report released today from the nonprofit Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation (Quality Corp). These conditions include ear infections and colds, which could be cared for outside the hospital. For both children and adults in Oregon, more than 46,000 emergency department (ED) visits a year could be avoided, saving at least $26.8 million a year.
The Information for a Healthy Oregon report also reveals that potentially avoidable hospital admissions, those that could have been prevented with appropriate outpatient care and earlier intervention, vary by county by more than six fold. The lowest rate was in Hood River County at 786 potentially avoidable admissions per 100,000 patients a year, compared to Wheeler County’s high rate of 5,075 admissions. Wheeler County has been identified as a geographic area with a shortage of primary care health professionals by the Oregon Office for Health Policy and Research.
In addition to information on ED visits and hospital admissions, Information for a Healthy Oregon also includes data on the quality and utilization of primary care across the state. For the first time, Quality Corp reports on changes in quality and utilization for care delivered from 2007 to 2011. Notable improvements over this time period have occurred in care for people with diabetes and heart disease, as well as the management of antidepressant medications. Since the first round of measurement, one-third of primary care clinics have improved their rates on four recommended screenings for people with diabetes.
“As Oregon moves forward with health care transformation initiatives, Information for a Healthy Oregon supports efforts to meet the Triple Aim goals of improving overall health, enhancing the patient experience of care and reducing costs,” says Mylia Christensen, executive director of the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation. “As public and private entities across the state launch new initiatives to improve care coordination, this report provides important background about Oregon’s health care system as a whole and supports efforts to improve the quality and affordability of care for all Oregonians.”
Eight of Oregon’s largest health plans, two managed Medicaid organizations, and the Oregon Health Authority’s Division of Medical Assistance Programs contributed claims data for this report. This data combined represents care given to 2 million Oregonians and provides more reliable and useful information than any contributing organization can provide on its own.
Quality Corp is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, a program in 16 communities across the United States. AF4Q is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to improve the overall quality of health care in targeted communities. In 2007, RWJF selected Quality Corp to lead the local AF4Q effort. Quality Corp is also a designated Chartered Value Exchange by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and a member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement.
For more information about Information for a Healthy Oregon, including a copy of the report, visit