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April 1991

Cost Containment and Quality of LifeAn Experiment in Compassion for Physicians

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(4):741-744. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400040087019

A review of emergency department visits during a 2-year period and before and after the liberation of physicians from a requirement of gatekeeping for some patients during the night showed no significant increases in the use or costs of services to our Medicaid enrollees for all but children under 6 years of age between 10 PM and midnight. We recommend that a more humane and practical view be taken of middle-of-the-night gatekeeping requirements for physicians functioning in managed-care environments. We also suggest, as many hospitals have already learned, that the costs of emergency department services for Medicaid patients can be reduced and that care may be enhanced by the offering of 24-hour urgent care services at or near the emergency department.

(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:741-744)