Insurance Status a Factor in Trauma Care, Study Says
Insured patients who are admitted to non-trauma hospitals may be getting "suboptimal" care in comparison to uninsured trauma patients who are "dumped" or transferred to trauma centers, a counterintuitive study finding suggests.
Emergency doctors at non-trauma hospitals are less likely to transfer severely injured patients to a designated trauma center if the patients are insured than if they are not insured, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery.
The implication is that insured patients admitted to non-trauma hospitals may be getting "suboptimal" care simply because hospitals want to keep patients whose care would be well reimbursed compared with patients without health insurance coverage.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine say the problem is well documented and serious enough that a law should be passed to prohibit the practice, much like the anti-dumping law, which requires hospitals to give stabilizing care to any patient, regardless of ability to pay, before transferring them.
"I don't think these decisions are being made maliciously," says M. Kit Delgado, MD, principal author of the report. "I think it's that these might be (ED doctors) who work in pretty big hospitals that have some resources, like neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, and (they) honestly feel (they) can take care of those patients."
But the evidence shows that with severely injured patients, clinicians can't always provide the best care quickly enough.
- CEO Exchange: Preparing for Population Health
- EHR Systems 'Immature, Costly,' AMA Says
- Advocate, NorthShore Deal Would Create 16-Hospital System
- Better HCAHPS Scores Protect Revenue
- Narrow Networks Cut Costs, Not Quality, Economists Say
- 3 Strategies for Retaining Millennial Employees
- 'Early Offer' Malpractice Programs May Spur Reform
- Power of price: In South FL and the nation, healthcare costs often are shrouded in secrecy
- Two NY hospitals to offer free hip and knee replacement surgeries for qualifying patients in December
- Hospital mergers may lead to higher prices