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Surgery study shows worse health, more problems & higher costs among Medicaid patients
Date:5/12/2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Surgery patients covered by Medicaid come into their operations with worse health, do worse afterward, stay in the hospital longer and find themselves back in the hospital more often than those covered by private insurance, a new analysis by University of Michigan Medical School researchers finds.

In fact, people with Medicaid coverage were twice as likely as other patients to have certain health risk factors before they had surgery, the researchers report in JAMA Surgery. They also had many more emergency operations, experienced two-thirds more complications after surgery, and used 50 percent more hospital resources than patients with other kinds of insurance.

The results come from an analysis of data from patients who had surgery over a one-year period in 52 Michigan hospitals taking part in the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative.

The findings may help foretell the near future, as millions of uninsured people become eligible to enroll in Medicaid programs that 26 U.S. states have expanded under the Affordable Care Act. Past studies suggest that many of the newly covered may use their new coverage to get treated for conditions that went untreated while they were uninsured including having surgery.

Since hospitals often don't recoup the total cost of caring for people covered by Medicaid, the findings also have implications for how hospitals will fare financially in coming years.

The authors say their results carry special importance for hospitals that treat large numbers of Medicaid patients -- and currently receive additional payments from the federal government to help cover more of the cost of their care. Those payments are scheduled to decline over time under the ACA.

The study-analyzed data from a random sampling of all operations performed at the participating hospitals in one year, focusing on nearly 14,000 patients between the ages of 18 and 64 who had either priv
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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