Readmissions to Different Hospitals After Common Surgical Procedures and Consequences for Implementation of Perioperative Surgical Home Programs

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We consider whether there should be greater priority of information sharing about postacute surgical resources used: (1) at skilled nursing facilities or inpatient rehabilitation hospitals to which patients are transferred upon discharge (when applicable) versus (2) at different hospitals where readmissions occur. Obtaining and storing data electronically from these 2 sources for Perioperative Surgical Home initiatives are dissimilar; both can be challenging depending on the country and health system.

METHODS:

Using the 2013 US Nationwide Readmissions Database, we studied discharges of surgical diagnosis-related group (DRG) with US national median length of stay (LOS) ≥ 3 days and ≥ 10 hospitals each with ≥ 100 discharges for the Medicare Severity DRG.

RESULTS:

Nationwide, 16.15% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.14%–17.22%) of discharges were with a disposition of “not to home” (ie, transfer to a skilled nursing facility or an inpatient rehabilitation hospital). Within 30 days, 0.88% of discharges (0.82%–0.95%) were followed by readmission and to a different hospital than the original hospital where the surgery was performed. Among all discharges, disposition “not to home” versus “to home” was associated with greater odds that the patient would have readmission within 30 days and to a different hospital than where the surgery was performed (2.11, 95% CI, 1.96–2.27; P < .0001). In part, this was because disposition “not to home” was associated with greater odds of readmission to any hospital (1.90, 95% CI, 1.82–1.98; P < .0001). In addition, among the subset of discharges with readmission within 30 days, disposition “not to home” versus “to home” was associated with greater odds that the readmission was to a different hospital than where the surgery was performed (1.20, 95% CI, 1.11–1.31; P < .0001). There was no association between the hospitals’ median LOS for the DRG and the odds that readmission was to a different hospital (P = .82). The odds ratio per each 1 day decrease in the hospital median LOS was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.91–1.12).

CONCLUSIONS:

Departments and hospitals wishing to demonstrate the value of their Perioperative Surgical Home initiatives, or to calculate risk assumption contracts, should ensure that their informatics priorities include obtaining accurate data on resource use at postacute care facilities such as skilled nursing facilities. Although approximately a quarter of readmissions are to different hospitals than where surgery was performed, provided that is recognized, obtaining those missing data is of less importance.

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