A comparison of length of stay, readmission rate, and facility reimbursement after lobectomy of the lung

Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Nov;96(5):1740-5; discussion 1745-6. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.06.053. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Background: Readmission to the hospital has become a focus for payers with the threat of nonpayment for preventable readmissions and a global penalty for excessive readmissions rates. This study compares readmission rates with lengths of stay (LOS) for patients undergoing lobectomy of the lung and the potential impact on reimbursement.

Methods: The Premier database for a single health system's hospitals was used to identify patients undergoing lobectomy for non-small cell lung cancer by cardiothoracic surgeons over a 5-year period. Charlson comorbidity scores were also calculated. Regression analysis was used to study the relationship between length of stay and readmission rates. A comparison of the effects of LOS and readmission on reimbursement was also performed.

Results: During the study period, 4,296 lobectomies were performed in 61 hospitals within the healthcare system that met the study's inclusion criteria. A readmission was recorded for 289 patients (7%). Factors associated with readmission were length of stay less than 5 days or more than 16 days and age more than 78 years (p = 0.001). An analysis of the effects of LOS and readmission on reimbursement found an extension of LOS was more cost effective than a readmission.

Conclusions: This review found that mean LOS after lobectomy is negatively associated with readmission rates, with the maximal effect being before postoperative day 5. Furthermore, facility reimbursement was optimized when LOS was extended to minimize the risk of readmission.

Keywords: 10; 4.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Economics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms / statistics & numerical data*