April 1 was an important day for many in Michigan. It was the day nearly half a million people in our state became newly eligible for the expanded Medicaid program.
Since then, more than 300,000 people have enrolled. Many have not seen a physician for a long time. Or, they have relied on emergency rooms for their medical care.
As revealed in a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, there's good news and challenging news in all of this.
Certainly it's good that patients will be able to turn to a physician for medical care.
But the challenge is the overall poor health of many of these patients, especially surgical patients, and that has many implications – to the patients, to the hospitals and to the surgeons treating them.
Chief Medical Officer of the University of Michigan Health System, Dr. Darrell Campbell, Junior, talked about the study on Stateside.
Campbell analyzed data on 14,000 patients who had operations in 52 hospitals in Michigan from July 2012 to June 2013. The study looked at the Medicaid population and compared them to people with private insurance but were around the same age. The study analyzed the condition those patients were in prior to their surgical procedure.
“What we found was that they weren’t in very good shape,” Campbell said. “And that has consequences for the results after they have surgery, not only in terms of how well they do from physical point of view but also the cost and resources that are used afterwards.”