Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Use of High-Volume Hospitals and Surgeons | Oncology | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
February 2010

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Use of High-Volume Hospitals and Surgeons

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Drs Epstein and Schlesinger); and Urban Institute, Washington, DC (Dr Gray).

Arch Surg. 2010;145(2):179-186. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2009.268
Abstract

Objective  To examine racial/ethnic differences in the use of high-volume hospitals and surgeons for 10 surgical procedures with documented associations between volume and mortality.

Design  Cross-sectional regression analysis.

Setting  New York City area hospital discharge data, 2001-2004.

Patients  Adults from 4 racial/ethnic categories (white, black, Asian, and Hispanic) who underwent surgery for cancer (breast, colorectal, gastric, lung, or pancreatic resection), cardiovascular disease (coronary artery bypass graft, coronary angioplasty, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, or carotid endarterectomy), or orthopedic conditions (total hip replacement).

Main Outcome Measure  Treatment by a high-volume surgeon at a high-volume hospital.

Results  There were 133 821 patients who underwent 1 of the 10 procedures. For 9 of the 10 procedures, black patients were significantly (P < .05) less likely (after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, insurance type, proximity to high-volume providers, and comorbidities) to be operated on by a high-volume surgeon at a high-volume hospital and more likely to be operated on by a low-volume surgeon at a low-volume hospital. Asian and Hispanic patients, respectively, were significantly less likely to use high-volume surgeons at high-volume hospitals for 5 and 4 of the 10 procedures and more likely to use low-volume surgeons at low-volume hospitals for 3 and 5 of the 10 procedures.

Conclusions  Minority patients in New York City are doubly disadvantaged in their surgical care; they are substantially less likely to use both high-volume hospitals and surgeons for procedures with an established volume-mortality association. Better information is needed about which providers minority patients have access to and how they select them.

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