Hospital Safety-Net Burden Is Associated With Increased Inpatient Mortality and Perioperative Complications After Colectomy

J Surg Res. 2021 Mar:259:24-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.11.029. Epub 2020 Dec 2.


Background: Colectomies are common yet costly, with high surgical-site infection rates. Safety-net hospitals (SNHs) carry a large proportion of uninsured or Medicaid-insured patients, which has been associated with poorer surgical outcomes. Few studies have examined the effect of safety-net burden (SNB) status on colectomy outcomes. We aimed to quantify the independent effects of hospital SNB and surgical site infection (SSI) status on colectomy outcomes, as well as the interaction effect between SSIs and SNB.

Methods: We used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's State Inpatient Databases for California, Florida, New York, Maryland, and Kentucky. We included 459,568 colectomies (2009 to 2014) for analysis, excluding patients age <18 y and rectal cases. The primary and secondary outcomes were inpatient mortality and complications, respectively.

Results: Adjusting for patient, procedure, and hospital factors, colectomy patients were more likely to die in-hospital at high-burden SNHs (adjusted OR [aOR]: 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25-1.51, P < 0.001), compared with low SNB hospitals and to experience perioperative complications (aOR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.04-1.20, P < 0.01). Colectomy patients with SSIs also had greater odds of in-hospital mortality (aOR: 1.92, 95% CI: 1.83-2.02, P < 0.001) and complications (aOR: 3.65, 95% CI: 3.55-3.75, P < 0.001) compared with those without infections. Patients treated at SNHs who developed a SSI were even more likely to have an additional perioperative complication (aOR: 4.33, 95% CI: 3.98-4.71, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that colectomy patients at SNHs have poorer outcomes, and for patients with SSIs, this disparity was even more pronounced in the likelihood for a complication. SNB should be recognized as a significant hospital-level factor affecting colectomy outcomes, with SSIs as an important quality metric.

Keywords: Colectomy outcomes; Hospital safety-net burden; SSIs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colectomy / adverse effects*
  • Colectomy / economics
  • Failure to Rescue, Health Care / economics
  • Failure to Rescue, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety-net Providers / economics
  • Safety-net Providers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • United States / epidemiology