Despite the rise of studies in the neurosurgical literature suggesting that patients with Medicaid insurance have inferior outcomes, there remains a paucity of data on the impact of insurance on outcomes after endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS). Given the increasing importance of complications in quality-based healthcare metrics, the objective of this study was to assess whether Medicaid insurance type influences outcomes in EETS for pituitary adenoma.
The authors analyzed a prospectively acquired database of EETS for pituitary adenoma from 2005 to 2018 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine. All patients with Medicaid insurance were identified. As a control group, the clinical, socioeconomic, and radiographic data of all other patients in the series with non-Medicaid insurance were reviewed. Statistical significance was determined with an alpha < 0.05 using Pearson chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and the independent-samples t-test for continuous variables.
Of 584 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 57 (10%) had Medicaid insurance. The maximum tumor diameter was significantly larger for Medicaid patients (26.1 ± 12 vs 23.1 ± 11 mm for controls, p < 0.05). Baseline comorbidities including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smoking history, and BMI were not significantly different between Medicaid patients and controls. Patients with Medicaid insurance had a significantly higher rate of any complication (14% vs 7% for controls, p < 0.05) and long-term cranial neuropathy (5% vs 1% for controls, p < 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in endocrine outcome or vision outcome. The mean postoperative length of stay was significantly longer for Medicaid patients compared to the controls (9.4 ± 31 vs 3.6 ± 3 days, p < 0.05). This difference remained significant even when accounting for outliers (5.6 ± 2.5 vs 3.0 ± 2.7 days for controls, p < 0.05). The most common causes of extended length of stay greater than 1 standard deviation for Medicaid patients were management of perioperative complications and disposition challenges. The rate of 30-day readmission was 7% for Medicaid patients and 4.4% for controls, which was not a statistically significant difference.
The authors found that larger tumor diameter, longer postoperative length of stay, higher rate of complications, and long-term cranial neuropathy were significantly associated with Medicaid insurance. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline comorbidities, apoplexy, endocrine outcome, vision outcome, or 30-day readmission.