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Massachusetts Employers Push To Reduce Emergency Room Use, Save Money

A treatment area in the emergency room at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield, MA
WAMC
/

     A new business coalition in Massachusetts is trying to lower health care costs by targeting overuse of hospital emergency rooms.

    Led by the 4000-member Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the coalition will produce a workplace campaign about seeking medical care in the right places. 

   AIM vice president Christopher Geehern said the goal is a 20 percent reduction in avoidable ER use over two years.

     "Everytime someone walks into an emergency room the average cost of that visit is more than $1,200," said Geehern.

    A study from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission found that 42 percent of all emergency department visits in 2015 were avoidable as people sought treatment for common complaints such as stomach pain, skin rashes, and tooth aches.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.