CURES Seminar: "Office Visits Preventing Emergency Room Visits: Evidence from the Flint Water Switch"

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Date: January 23, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Integrative Biosciences Center 1D
Category: Seminar

The Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) presents their Thursday afternoon seminar series on January 23, 2020 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the IBio Building in Seminar Room 1D, located at 6135 Woodward Ave.  The seminar is free and open to the entire University community.

The guest speaker will be Shooshan Danagoulian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Wayne State University.  Dr. Danagoulian will present "Office Visits Preventing Emergency Room Visits: Evidence from the Flint Water Switch".

Dr. Shooshan Danagoulian received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Economics from Cornell Univeristy.  Her research and teaching interests include health economics, applied microeconomics and applied econometrics.


Emergency department visits are costly to providers and to patients.  We use the Flint water crisis to test if an exogenous increase in office visits reduced avoidable emergency room visits.  In September 2015, citizens in Flint became aware of the increased lead levels in their drinking water, resulting from the switch from Lake Huron to the Flint River.  Using Medicaid claims for 2013-2016, we find that this information shock increased the share of enrollees with lead tests by 1.7 percentage points.  Additionally, it increased office visits immediately following the information shock, then decreased them afterwards.  This led to a reduction of 4.9 preventable, non-emergent, and primary care treatable emergency room vists per 1000 eligible children (8.2%).  This decrease is present in shifts from emergency room visits to office visits across several common conditions.  Our results suggest following lead tests, children were more likely to receive care from the same clinic and that establishing care reduces the likelihood a parent will take their child to receive care at the emergency room for conditions treatable in an office setting.  Our results are potentially applicable to any situation in which individuals are induced to seek more care in an office visit setting.


Christina Cowen




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