Background: The acute care surgery (ACS) model has been widely implemented, with single institution studies demonstrating improved outcomes but multicenter studies questioning the efficiency. Acute care surgery programs care for sicker and more economically disadvantaged patients. This study compares outcomes between ACS and traditional models in the management of diverticulitis across an entire state.
Study design: The Virginia Health Information administrative database for adults discharged with diverticulitis from January 2008 through September 2015, was reviewed. Patient characteristics were analyzed and compared between ACS and traditional models. Outcome differences were compared using logistic regression.
Results: We reviewed 23,943 admissions, with 2,330 (9.7%) patients cared for in ACS programs. The ACS patients were more likely to be uninsured (10.6% vs 6.8%, p < 0.0001) or covered by Medicaid (5.5% vs 3.4%, p < 0.0001), and the ACS hospitals cared for a higher percentage of minority patients than in the traditional programs (30.4% vs 19.8%, p < 0.0001). Operative rates were higher in ACS hospitals (14.7% vs 11.8%, p < 0.0001), as were rates of complicated diverticulitis (24.5% vs 20.3%, p < 0.0001). The ACS patients had significantly higher rates of comorbidities. After adjusting for patient comorbidities and demographics, ACS patients had a higher rate of complications (odds ratio [OR] 1.36, p = 0.0017). However, there was no difference in mortality, length of stay, or costs. When comparing only operative patients, there were no outcome differences after adjusting for patient factors.
Conclusions: Acute care surgery patients present to the hospital with more severe disease, higher rates of medical comorbidities, and lower socioeconomic status. Once patient factors are accounted for, outcomes are equivalent for operative patients in either model. Acute care surgery hospitals provide high quality and efficient care to sicker and more complex patients than traditional programs.
Copyright © 2018 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.