March 1996

Population Requirements for Capitation Planning in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Davis and Cohen) and Pediatrics (Drs Allen and Powers), The Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Columbus.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(3):257-259. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170280027004

Objective:  To determine the population number necessary to generate a sufficient volume of pediatric cardiac surgeries to allow accurate prediction of resource utilization.

Design:  All pediatric cardiac surgical patients receive care in our institution by means of only four clinical pathways that are based on acuity, not diagnosis or procedure. This allows accurate tracking of resource utilization. Based on available information, 750 consecutive surgically treated patients were retrospectively assigned to a pathway. They were subsequently subdivided into study groups of decreasing sizes from 150 to 35. Variability of pathway distribution from group to group was examined as a measure of the ability to predict resource utilization based on group size. Pediatric cardiac statistics from the state of Ohio were then used to extrapolate to the population base necessary to generate each group size.

Setting:  A regional pediatric cardiac referral center.

Patients:  All sequential patients who underwent pediatric cardiac surgery between July 1991 and January 1994.

Results:  Statewide statistics showed that a population base of 1 million people generates 100 pediatric cardiac operations. Groups of 100 patients or greater had minimal variation in pathway distribution from group to group, allowing accurate prediction of hospital charges. This was not true for groups of 50 patients or less.

Conclusions:  Resource utilization for pediatric cardiac surgery can be accurately predicted in a capitated setting for populations of 1 million covered lives (100 procedures) or greater. For populations of 500 000 covered lives or less, variability of case mix is great enough to suggest the need for a more individualized payment mechanism.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:257-259)