Do safety-net hospitals provide equitable care after decompressive surgery for acute cauda equina syndrome?

Archis R. Bhandarkar, Mohammed Ali Alvi, James M. Naessens, Mohamad Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Safety-net hospitals provide care to a substantial share of disadvantaged patient populations. Whether disparities exist between safety-net hospitals and their counterparts in performing emergent neurosurgical procedures has not yet been examined. Objective: We used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a national all-payer inpatient healthcare database, to determine whether safety-net hospitals provide equitable care after decompressive surgery for acute cauda equina syndrome (CES). Methods: The NIS from 2002 to 2011 was queried for patients with a diagnosis of acute CES who received decompressive surgery. Hospital safety-net burden was designated as low (LBH), medium (MBH), or high (HBH) based on the proportion of inpatient admissions that were billed as Medicaid, self-pay, or charity care. Etiologies of CES were classified as degenerative, neoplastic, trauma, and infectious. Significance was defined at p < 0.01. Results: A total of 5607 admissions were included in this analysis. HBHs were more likely than LBHs to treat patients who were Black, Hispanic, on Medicaid, or had a traumatic CES etiology (p < 0.001). After adjusting for patient, hospital, and clinical factors treatment at an HBH was not associated with greater inpatient adverse events (p = 0.611) or LOS (p = 0.082), but was associated with greater inflation-adjusted admission cost (p = 0.001). Discussion: Emergent decompressive surgery for CES performed at SNHs is associated with greater inpatient costs, but not greater inpatient adverse events or LOS. Differences in workflows at SNHs may be the drivers of these disparities in cost and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106356
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Volume200
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Cauda equina
  • Disparities
  • Emergent
  • Safety net

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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