Improved Rates of Immediate Breast Reconstruction at Safety Net Hospitals

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Substantial federal resources have been directed toward ensuring the delivery of high-quality care at safety net hospitals. Although disparities in receipt of breast reconstruction persist at the patient level, the extent to which hospital factors contribute to these differences remains unclear. The rates of immediate breast reconstruction across safety net and non–safety net hospitals were investigated.


Women 21 years and older with breast cancer or increased risk of breast cancer undergoing immediate post-mastectomy reconstruction were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. Safety net hospitals were defined as hospitals with the highest tertile of Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment adjustments. Adjusted odds ratios of undergoing reconstruction were calculated.


Thirty-one percent of patients (n = 10,910) at safety net hospitals underwent immediate reconstruction compared with 46 percent of patients (n = 14,619) at non–safety net hospitals (p < 0.001). Logistic regression revealed that women at non–safety net hospitals were significantly more likely to undergo reconstruction (OR, 1.89; 95 percent CI, 1.65 to 2.16). However, analysis by study year revealed that rates of reconstruction at safety net hospitals increased over time.


After accounting for sociodemographic factors, women undergoing mastectomies at safety net hospitals remain less likely to undergo immediate breast reconstruction. However, the differences in rates of reconstruction between safety net and non–safety net hospitals have narrowed over time. The availability of immediate reconstruction lessens the psychological trauma of mastectomy, and it is critical to continue redirecting federal efforts toward this valuable component of breast cancer care.


Risk, II.

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