Campbell Med student selected for health policy elective

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Campbell Medicine announces the selection of Priyanka Kailash, fourth-year medical student, for the American College of Emergency Physicians’ and Emergency Medical Resident Association’s medical student elective in health policy and government relations. One of two students chosen from a national applicant pool to participate, Kailash will attend in a month-long elective in Washington, D.C.

This elective, structured by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Public Affairs Office in Washington D.C., hosts select students with interest in healthcare policy and leadership and provides an opportunity for young physicians to refine their advocacy skills with hands-on experience on Capitol Hill. The elective allows students to focus on a health policy issue of their choosing and to work with local, state, and federal legislators on the issue.

“I choose to apply for this elective because I believe it is important for physicians to be involved in healthcare policymaking and to play an active role in the legislative branches of government – lobbying and advocating for our profession,” said Student Doctor Kailash. “I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill and North Carolina state chapter’s office to learn more about health care policy and to explore my health policy related research topic as it pertains to Emergency Medicine.”

Kailash will be exploring homelessness and its fiscal impact on the Emergency Departments (ED) in health care systems.

“Homelessness is an incredible fiscal burden to the society, and to the hospital system,” continued Kailash. “People who identify as homeless have higher than average emergency room visits and each visit costs an average of $3,700 – an average of $44,400 per homeless person annually. Not all visits to the ED by homeless patients are directly relate to a health-related complaint – sometimes they present to the ED for a warm and safe place to spend the night. I think there is a better solution to provide the care they are seeking; providing sufficient shelters that offer a warm and safe night while reducing unnecessary visits to the ED could be a win-win.”

Kailash’s research will specifically focus on quantifying what portion of national statistics reflect health care costs for the homeless population in North Carolina and investigating whether additional shelters and other assistance will reduce overall healthcare costs.

“Before we can start providing a solution, we need to know how big the problem is and understand all of the relevant factors leading patients to come to the ED,” states Student Doctor Kailash. “During my elective, I plan to start a system where we can quantify the number of visits that are strictly due to lack of shelter by individuals identifying as homeless, do a cost-benefit analysis on shelters, and explore other options to help our community and hospitals.”

Student Doctor Kailash has spent her third and fourth years of medical school on rotation at Cape Fear Valley Health in Fayetteville and will enter residency in Emergency Medicine in July at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.