To examine the relationship between the use and type of primary care and visits to the emergency department (ED) in early infancy by healthy infants who are Medicaid recipients.
A population-based cohort study using a database linking birth certificate data to Medicaid claims.
A total of 151 464 full-term infants born in Ohio to mothers receiving Medicaid from July 1, 1991, through June 30, 1998.
Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome of interest was the occurrence of an ED visit within 91 days of the neonate's birth. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the effect of early linkage with primary care (within 21 days of birth) on ED use in early infancy.
Only 53% of the infants had a documented primary care visit within 21 days of birth. Twenty-eight percent of infants had at least 1 ED visit within 91 days of birth and 9% had more than 1 visit. The mean age of the neonate at the first ED visit was 39.7 days. Fifteen percent of primary care visits within 21 days of birth occurred at a hospital-based primary care clinic. After adjusting for maternal, infant, and residency characteristics and temporal differences, early primary care linkage was associated with a 16% increase in the likelihood of ED use. When the primary care visit occurred in a hospital-based primary care clinic, it was associated with a 27% increase in the likelihood of ED use.
Contrary to our expectations, early primary care linkage did not result in a decreased risk of ED use.