Transfers to a public hospital. A prospective study of 467 patients.

New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 54.42). 03/1986; 314(9):552-7. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM198602273140905
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of patients transferred to public hospitals in the United States. We prospectively studied 467 medical and surgical patients who were transferred from the emergency departments of other hospitals in the Chicago area to Cook County Hospital and subsequently admitted. Eighty-nine percent of the transferred patients were black or Hispanic, and 81 percent were unemployed. Most (87 percent) were transferred because they lacked adequate medical insurance. Only 6 percent of the patients had given written informed consent for transfer. Twenty-two percent required admission to an intensive care unit, usually within 24 hours of arrival. Twenty-four percent were in an unstable clinical condition at the transferring hospital. The proportion of transferred medical-service patients who died was 9.4 percent, which was significantly higher than the proportion of medical-service patients who were not transferred (3.8 percent, P less than 0.01). There was no significant difference in the proportion of deaths on the surgical service between patients who were transferred and those who were not (1.5 vs. 2.4 percent). We conclude that patients are transferred to public hospitals predominantly for economic reasons, in spite of the fact that many of them are in an unstable condition at the time of transfer.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Trauma is the leading cause of potential years of life lost before age 65 years in the United States. Timely care in a designated trauma center has been shown to reduce mortality by 25%. However, many severely injured patients are not transferred to trauma centers after initially being seen at non-trauma center emergency departments (EDs). OBJECTIVES To determine patient-level and hospital-level factors associated with the decision to admit rather than transfer severely injured patients who are initially seen at non-trauma center EDs and to ascertain whether insured patients are more likely to be admitted than transferred compared with uninsured patients. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective analysis of the 2009 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample. We included all ED encounters for major trauma (Injury Severity Score, >15) seen at non-trauma centers in patients aged 18 to 64 years. We excluded ED discharges and ED deaths. We quantified the absolute risk difference between admission vs transfer by insurance status, while adjusting for age, sex, mechanism of injury, Injury Severity Score, weekend admission and month of visit, and urban vs rural status and median household income of the home zip code, as well as annual ED visit volume and teaching status and US region. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Inpatient admission vs transfer to another acute care facility. RESULTS In 2009, a total of 4513 observations from 636 non-trauma center EDs were available for analysis, representing a nationally weighted population of 19 312 non-trauma center ED encounters for major trauma. Overall, 54.5% in 2009 were admitted to the non-trauma center. Compared with patients without insurance, the adjusted absolute risk of admission vs transfer was 14.3% (95% CI, 9.2%-19.4%) higher for patients with Medicaid and 11.2% (95% CI, 6.9%-15.4%) higher for patients with private insurance. Other factors associated with admission vs transfer included severe abdominal injuries (risk difference, 15.9%; 95% CI, 9.4%-22.3%), urban teaching hospital vs non-teaching hospital (risk difference, 26.2%; 95% CI, 15.2%-37.2%), and annual ED visit volume (risk difference, 3.4%; 95% CI, 1.6%-5.3% higher for every additional 10 000 annual ED visits). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Patients with severe injuries initially evaluated at non-trauma center EDs were less likely to be transferred if insured and were at risk of receiving suboptimal trauma care. Efforts in monitoring and optimizing trauma interhospital transfers and outcomes at the population level are warranted.
    02/2014; 149(5). DOI:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.4398
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to analyze whether nonemergency, isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery for high- or low-risk patients biases the assessment of the risk-adjusted mortality rates of hospitals. This study used 2002 National Health Insurance claims data for tertiary hospitals in Korea. The study sample consisted of 1,959 patients from 23 tertiary hospitals. The risk-adjustment model used the patients' biological, admission, and comorbidity data identified in the claims. The subjects were classified into high- and low-risk groups based on predicted surgical risk. The crude mortality rates and risk-adjusted mortality rates for low-risk, high-risk, and all patients in a hospital were compared based on the rank and the four intervals defined by quartile. Also, the crude mortality rates of the three groups were compared with their 95% confidence intervals of predicted mortality rates. The C-statistic (0.83) and Hosmer-Lemeshow test (=11.47, p=0.18) indicated that the risk-adjustment model performed well. Presenting crude mortality rates with their 95% confidence intervals of predicted rates showed higher agreements among the three groups than using the rank or intervals of mortality rates defined by quartile in the hospital performance assessment. The crude mortality rates for the low-risk patients in 21 of the 23 hospitals were located on the same side of their 95% confidence intervals compared to that for all patients. High-risk patients and all patients differed at only one hospital. In conclusion, the impact of risk selection by hospital on the assessment results was the smallest when comparing the crude inpatient mortality rates of CABG patients with the 95% confidence intervals of predicted mortality rates. Given the increasing importance of quality improvements in Korean health policy, it will be necessary to use the appropriate method of releasing the hospital performance data to the public to minimize any unwanted impact such as risk-based hospital selection.
    01/2007; 17(3):87-105. DOI:10.4332/KJHPA.2007.17.3.087
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is little objective evidence to support concerns that patients are transferred between hospitals based on insurance status. To examine the relationship between patients' insurance coverage and interhospital transfer. Data analyzed from the 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. All patients aged 18 to 64 years discharged alive from U.S. acute care hospitals with 1 of 5 common diagnoses (biliary tract disease, chest pain, pneumonia, septicemia, and skin or subcutaneous infection). For each diagnosis, the proportion of hospitalized patients who were transferred to another acute care hospital based on insurance coverage (private, Medicare, Medicaid, or uninsured) was compared. Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of transfer for uninsured patients (reference category, privately insured) while patient- and hospital-level factors were adjusted for. All analyses incorporated sampling and poststratification weights. Among 315 748 patients discharged from 1051 hospitals with any of the 5 diagnoses, the percentage of patients transferred to another acute care hospital varied from 1.3% (skin infection) to 5.1% (septicemia). In unadjusted analyses, uninsured patients were significantly less likely to be transferred for 3 diagnoses (P 0.05). In adjusted analyses, uninsured patients were significantly less likely to be transferred than privately insured patients for 4 diagnoses: biliary tract disease (odds ratio, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.55 to 0.96]), chest pain (odds ratio, 0.63 [CI, 0.44 to 0.89]), septicemia (odds ratio, 0.76 [CI, 0.64 to 0.91]), and skin infections (odds ratio, 0.64 [CI, 0.46 to 0.89]). Women were significantly less likely to be transferred than men for all diagnoses. This analysis relied on administrative data and lacked clinical detail. Uninsured patients (and women) were significantly less likely to undergo interhospital transfer. Differences in transfer rates may contribute to health care disparities. National Institutes of Health.
    Annals of internal medicine 01/2014; 160(2):81-90. · 16.10 Impact Factor