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LOUISIVILLE, Ky. (AP) - University Hospital in Louisville has found it cheaper to pay preventive doctor bills than rack up repeat emergency room visits.
According to The Courier-Journal, one man was brought to the emergency room 337 times in fewer than two years, costing the hospital $626,000.
The hospital began a new program, aimed at stopping inappropriate use of the emergency department by people called "super-utilizers."
The program has so far aided 18 patients - six at a time.
The hospital finds doctors to treat the patients and substance abuse programs to aid them and pays for it. So far, the hospital has spent about $18,000 on all patients since August.
Studies have shown that having a primary-care physician or clinic reduces emergency room use significantly and also saves money.