Racial disparities have been suggested in hospital utilization and outcome for lung cancer surgery, but the effect of hospital centralization on closing this gap is unknown. We hypothesized that centralization has increased the utilization of high- or very-high-volume (HV/VHV) hospitals, a proxy for access to high-quality care, over the study period independently from race.
Inpatient records were extracted from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database (1995–2012) according to Clinical Modification of the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision diagnosis codes 162.* and 165.* and surgical procedure codes 32.2–32.6 (n = 31,931). Patients treated exclusively with surgery of black or white race with a valid zip code were included. Logistic models were performed to determine factors associated with utilization of HV/VHV or low- or very-low-volume (LV/VLV) hospitals; these models were subsequently stratified by race.
The percentage of both black and white patients utilizing HV/VHV hospitals increased over the study period (+22.7% and 13.9%, respectively). The distance to the nearest HV/VHV hospital and patient–hospital distance were significantly lower in black compared to white patients, however, blacks were consistently less likely to use HV/VHV than whites (odds ratioadj: 0.26; 95% confidence interval: 0.23–0.29), and were significantly more likely to utilize urban, teaching, and lower volume hospitals than whites. Likelihood of HV/VHV utilization decreased with an increasing distance from a HV/VHV hospital, overall and separately for black and white patients.
Although centralization has increased the utilization of HV/VHV for both black and white patients, racial differences in access and utilization of HV hospitals persisted.