Which Medicare Patients Are Transferred From Rural Emergency Departments?


Analyzes transfers of Medicare beneficiaries who received emergency care in a CAH or rural hospital and were transferred to another hospital for care.

Key findings include the following:

  • Among Medicare beneficiaries who received same-day emergency care and inpatient care in 2010, the inpatient stay was in a different hospital for 28.4% of the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) emergency encounters, compared to 9.0% for rural non-CAHs, and 2.0% for urban hospitals.
  • The majority of transferred CAH and rural non-CAH emergency patients went to urban hospitals for inpatient care. By diagnosis, most transferred patients with intracranial injuries and cardiac-related diagnoses went to urban hospitals, while 35%-45% of patients with certain mental health diagnoses were transferred to other CAHs or rural non-CAHs.
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Michelle Casey, Jeffrey McCullough, Robert Kreiger