Objectives: To determine the extent to which newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) are concentrated in some hospitals as compared with newborns without NAS and whether care quality and safety differed among these hospitals. We hypothesized that newborns with NAS would be cared for in poorer-quality hospitals.
Methods: Secondary analysis of 3 2016 data sets: (1) the panel study of effects of changes in nursing on patient outcomes-US survey of hospital registered nurses regarding work conditions and safety, (2) inpatient discharge abstracts, and (3) the American Hospital Association annual survey. Newborns in 266 hospitals from the 4 states where the panel study of effects of changes in nursing on patient outcomes was conducted were included. We used Lorenz curves to determine if newborns with NAS were concentrated in different hospitals than newborns without NAS and whether care quality and safety differed among those hospitals. Quality and safety were assessed by staff nurses by using standard survey questions.
Results: Of the 659 403 newborns in this study, 3130 were diagnosed with noniatrogenic NAS. We found that newborns with NAS were cared for in different hospitals compared with newborns without NAS (Gini coefficient 0.62, 95% confidence interval, 0.56-0.68) and that the hospitals in which they received care were rated as having poorer quality and safety (Gini coefficient 0.12, 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.23).
Conclusions: Newborns with NAS are cared for in poorer-quality hospitals than other newborns. Our findings are of concern because poorer-quality care is linked to patient outcomes. As stakeholders seek to address the opioid epidemic and improve outcomes of newborns with NAS, our findings suggest the importance of examining hospital factors.
Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.