Check Up Before You Check Out: Retail Clinics and Emergency Room Use
The retail clinic is an innovation that has the potential to improve competition in health care markets. Given concern about inefficient use of the emergency room (ER) increasing health care costs, we use all ER visits in New Jersey from 2006-2014 to examine the impact of retail clinics on ER usage. We find that people residing close to an open clinic are 4.1-12.3 percent less likely to use an ER for preventable conditions and for minor acute conditions. Our estimates suggest annual cost savings of over $70 million from reduced ER usage if retail clinics were readily available across New Jersey.
We thank participants in seminars at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the 2017 Highland Health Economics Symposium, and the 2018 American Society of Health Economists Annual Meeting for helpful feedback. We also thank the staff at the New Jersey Department of Health for their assistance in accessing the data used in this paper. The Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University provided generous financial support. All views expressed are those of the authors and cannot be attributed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Federal Reserve System, the New Jersey Department of Health, or the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Diane Alexander & Janet Currie & Molly Schnell, 2019. "Check up before you check out: Retail clinics and emergency room use," Journal of Public Economics, vol 178. citation courtesy of