I’ve worked as a consultant for outpatient (ER+amb surg) billing and coding services for about 8 years.
I could have told you this would happen.
The ER is a fantastic deal with Medicaid; it’s a centralized center of care and they’re guaranteed to see a PA or doctor and for them it is 100% free.
Many Medicaid patients also take ambulances since they are also 100% free (to them-taxpayers get to pay $300.00 for the ride) whereas if they called a cab they would have to pay ten dollars or so themselves.
Medicaid is a rampant cancer devouring ever more dollars for a reason, it is the penultimate welfare program that only gets bigger and more expensive.
In case you’re wondering the most common diagnoses seen in ER’s are otitis media (ear infection), pharyngitis (sore throat) and sprains. None of these are emergencies but they’re the bulk of the cases I review.
It’s not unusual to see people getting treated for mosquito bites, toothaches, or sunburn either.