656 W. Kirby St.
Department of Economics
Detroit, MI 48202
Institutional Affiliation: Wayne State University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2020||Office Visits Preventing Emergency Room Visits: Evidence From the Flint Water Switch|
with , : w27098
Emergency department visits are costly to providers and to patients. We use the Flint water crisis to test if an increase in office visits reduced avoidable emergency room visits. In September 2015, the city of Flint issued a lead advisory to its residents, alerting them of increased lead levels in their drinking water, resulting from the switch in water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Using Medicaid claims for 2013-2016, we find that this information shock increased the share of enrollees who had lead tests performed by 1.7 percentage points. Additionally, it increased office visits immediately following the information shock and led to a reduction of 4.9 preventable, non-emergent, and primary-care-treatable emergency room visits per 1000 eligible children (8.2%). This decrease...