State ending limits on Medicaid hospital visits

  • Thu Nov 10th, 2011 5:10pm
  • News

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A court ruling is forcing Washington to repeal rules that seek to limit Medicaid coverage of emergency room visits for nonemergency care.

A Thurston County judge said Thursday that the state did not follow proper procedures when it established a three-visit annual limit. Officials say they are going to rework the proposal and that the court ruling did not address whether the larger effort is legal.

The American College of Emergency Physicians has sued the state, arguing that the rules put patients at risk. The group has noted that the list of nonemergencies includes chest pain and kidney stones, which could force people to self-diagnose.

State officials implemented the rule a month ago, hoping to deter people who overuse the emergency room. The state projected that it would save more than $30 million over a two-year period.