AHRQ Stats: Medicare “Super-Utilizer” Patients
“Super-utilizers" -- patients who visit an emergency department (ED) four times or more in a year -- accounted for 19 percent of ED visits by people on Medicare for urinary tract infections in 2014. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #221: Characteristics of Emergency Department Visits for Super-Utilizers by Payer, 2014.)
H. Joanna Jiang, Ph.D., Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D., and Marguerite L. Barrett, M.S.
Over the last several years, health care stakeholders have paid increasing attention to issues specific to high-need, high-cost patients who constitute a very small percentage of the population but account for a disproportionally high amount of health care utilization. These patients, dubbed super-utilizers, represent a broad spectrum of demographic and clinical characteristics and socioeconomic conditions. Programs designed to improve care for super-utilizers need to be tailored to the specific needs of the different subgroups of these patients. As part of this effort, it is important to examine differences in utilization patterns among different types of super-utilizers, in comparison to national benchmarks.