Follow-Up After Emergency Department Visit for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse or Dependence (FUA)

The percentage of emergency department (ED) visits for members 13 years of age and older with a principal diagnosis of alcohol or other drug (AOD) abuse or dependence, who had who had a follow up visit for AOD.

Two rates are reported:

  • The percentage of ED visits for which the member received follow-up within 30 days of the ED visit (31 total days).
  • The percentage of ED visits for which the member received follow-up within 7 days of the ED visit (8 total days).

Why It Matters

AOD abuse and dependence is a serious public health issue. In the U.S., 8% of individuals 12 years of age or older (an estimated 20.8 million) had a substance use disorder, including alcohol abuse or dependence and illicit drug use, in 2014.

According to 2015 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), young adults 18–25 had the highest percentage of alcohol abuse or dependence (11%) among individuals 12 or older (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2016).

With many individuals experiencing AOD, the use of ED services is common. Many patients leaving the ED fail to receive follow-up care, even though studies have demonstrated that substance abuse treatment during or after an ED visit has been linked to a reduction in substance use, future ED use, hospital admissions and bed days (Kunz et al., 2004; Mancuso et al., 2004; Parthasarathy et al., 2001).

A study of ED visits at one hospital found that patients who failed to receive aftercare following an ED visit had 6 times higher odds of coming back to the ED within 2 months than patients who received aftercare (Bruffaerts et al., 2005).


Data not available to display at this time.


  1. Bruffaerts R., M. Sabbe, K. Demyffenaere. 2005. “Predicting Community Tenure in Patients with Recurrent Utilization of a Psychiatric Emergency Service.” General Hospital Psychiatry 27:269–74.
  2. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51). Retrieved from
  3. Kunz, F.M., M.T. French, S. Bazargan-Hejazi. 2004. “Cost-effectiveness analysis of a brief intervention delivered to problem drinkers presenting at an inner-city hospital emergency department.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 65: 363-370.
  4. Mancuso D., D.J. Nordlund, B. Felver. 2004. “Reducing emergency room visits through chemical dependency treatment: focus on frequent emergency room visitors.” Olympia, Wash: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Research and Data Analysis Division.
  5. Parthasarathy S., C. Weisner, T.W. Hu, C. Moore. 2001. “Association of outpatient alcohol and drug treatment with health care utilization and cost: revisiting the offset hypothesis.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 62:89-97.

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