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Ryan G. Chiu, Angelica M. Fuentes and Ankit I. Mehta

OBJECTIVE

Several studies have indicated that racial disparities may exist in the management and outcomes of acute trauma care. One segment of trauma care that has not been as extensively investigated, however, is that of cranial trauma care. The goal of this study was to determine whether significant differences exist among racial and ethnic groups in various measures of inpatient management and outcomes after gunshot wounds to the head (GWH).

METHODS

In this study, the authors used the Nationwide (National) Inpatient Sample (NIS) to investigate all-cause mortality, receipt of surgery, days from admission to initial intervention, discharge disposition, length of hospital stay, and total hospital charges of those with GWH from 2012 to 2016. A 1:1 propensity score–matched analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of race on these endpoints, while controlling for baseline demographics and comorbidities.

RESULTS

A total of 333 patients met the inclusion and exclusion criteria: 148 (44.44%) white/Caucasian, 123 (36.94%) black/African American, 54 (16.22%) Hispanic/Latinx, and 8 (2.40%) Asian. African American patients were sent to immediate care and rehabilitation significantly less often than Caucasian patients (RR 0.17 [95% CI 0.04–0.71]). There were no significant differences in mortality, length of stay, rates of surgical intervention, or total hospital charges among any of the racial groups.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ findings suggest that racial disparities in inpatient cranial trauma care and outcomes may not be as prevalent as previously thought. In fact, the disparities seen were only in disposition. More research is needed to further elucidate and address disparities within this population, particularly those that may exist prior to, and after, hospitalization.

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Ryan G. Chiu, Blake E. Murphy, David M. Rosenberg, Amy Q. Zhu and Ankit I. Mehta

OBJECTIVE

Much of the current discourse surrounding healthcare reform in the United States revolves around the role of the profit motive in medical care. However, there currently exists a paucity of literature evaluating the effect of for-profit hospital ownership status on neurological and neurosurgical care. The purpose of this study was to compare inpatient mortality, operation rates, length of stay, and hospital charges between private nonprofit and for-profit hospitals in the treatment of intracranial hemorrhage.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study utilized data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. Primary outcomes, including all-cause inpatient mortality, operative status, patient disposition, hospital length of stay, total hospital charges, and per-day hospital charges, were assessed for patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of intracranial (epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, or intraparenchymal) hemorrhage, while controlling for baseline demographics, comorbidities, and interhospital differences via propensity score matching. Subgroup analyses by hemorrhage type were then performed, using the same methodology.

RESULTS

Of 155,977 unique hospital discharges included in this study, 133,518 originated from private nonprofit hospitals while the remaining 22,459 were from for-profit hospitals. After propensity score matching, mortality rates were higher in for-profit centers, at 14.50%, compared with 13.31% at nonprofit hospitals (RR 1.09, 95% CI 1.00–1.18; p = 0.040). Surgical operation rates were also similar (25.38% vs 24.42%; RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.91–1.02; p = 0.181). Of note, nonprofit hospitals appeared to be more intensive, with intracranial pressure monitor placement occurring in 2.13% of patients compared with 1.47% in for-profit centers (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.54–0.88; p < 0.001). Discharge disposition was also similar, except for higher rates of absconding at for-profit hospitals (RR 1.59, 95% CI 1.12–2.27; p = 0.018). Length of stay was greater among for-profit hospitals (mean ± SD: 7.46 ± 11.91 vs 6.50 ± 8.74 days, p < 0.001), as were total hospital charges ($141,141.40 ± $218,364.40 vs $84,863.54 ± $136,874.71 [USD], p < 0.001). These findings remained similar even after segregating patients by subgroup analysis by hemorrhage type.

CONCLUSIONS

For-profit hospitals are associated with higher inpatient mortality, lengths of stay, and hospital charges compared with their nonprofit counterparts.