Cut The Red Tape: Dr. Ciampi — Portland, Maine

In South Portland, Maine, Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step last spring that Bangor Daily News said some physicians would describe as radical (not us, though). He reclaimed his practice from the Mercy health system because he found that patient care was too impersonal. Then he stopped accepting insurance and Medicaid so that he could work more directly with his patients. Earlier in 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

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Study Suggests More Insurance, More ER Visits

Sabrina Tavernise writes in The New York Times about a new study that flips a steadfast assumption on its head. At first glance, you’d think that giving people more access to Medicaid would lower the frequency of ER visits. However, a study conducted in Oregon has proven the exact opposite.

The study was published in the journal Science. It compared two groups of people — a 2008 lottery randomly selected thousands of low-income people in the Portland area and provided them Medicaid coverage; a second group entered the lottery but received no insurance. Here’s the shocker. “Those who gained coverage made 40 percent more visits to the emergency room than their uninsured counterparts,” writes The Times. The pattern was strong, holding true across most demographics, times of day, and types of visits. These even included conditions that we could have treated here in our Atlas MD office.

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