Center Variation in Hospital Costs for Pediatric Heart Transplantation: The Relationship Between Cost and Outcomes.
Authors of this article are:
Godown J, Thurm C, Hall M, Dodd DA, Feingold B, Soslow JH, Mettler BA, Smith AH, Bearl DW, Schumacher KR.
A summary of the article is shown below:
There are limited published data addressing the costs associated with pediatric heart transplantation and no studies evaluating the variation in costs across centers. We aimed to describe center variation in pediatric heart transplant costs and assess the association of transplant hospitalization costs with patient outcomes. Using a linkage between the Pediatric Health Information System and Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients databases, hospital costs were assessed for patients (< 18 years of age) undergoing heart transplantation (2007-2016). Severity-adjusted patient costs were calculated using generalized linear mixed-effects models with a random hospital intercept. Center variation in hospital cost was described after adjusting for the predicted risk of in-hospital mortality. Post-transplant survival was compared between low- and high-cost centers using Cox proportional hazard models. A total of 2156 patients were included from 24 centers. There was 3.7-fold variation in transplant hospitalization costs across centers, ranging from $329,477 to $1,226,507. Patients transplanted at high-cost centers have a higher predicted risk of in-hospital mortality (8.1% vs. 6.1%, p < 0.001). Both early (p = 0.008) and long-term (p = 0.003) post-transplant survival were better in patients transplanted at low-cost centers. Transplant at low-cost centers was associated with improved post-transplant survival, independent of patient-specific risk (adjusted hazard ratio 0.72; 95%CI 0.57-0.92, p = 0.008). There is wide variation in cost for pediatric heart transplant inpatient care among U.S. centers with low-cost centers demonstrating the best patient survival. Differences in patient populations likely contribute to these findings, but cannot account for all the variation seen. This suggests that variability in the delivery of care across centers may influence post-transplant survival.
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