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Lawson E.H.,University of California at Los Angeles | Zingmond D.S.,University of California at Los Angeles | Stey A.M.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Hall B.L.,Washington University in St. Louis | And 2 more authors.
Annals of Surgery | Year: 2014

Methods: Records (2005-2008) for all patients undergoing colectomy procedures in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) were linked to Medicare inpatient claims. Cost was derived from hospital payments by Medicare. Quality was derived from the occurrence of 30-day postoperative major complications and/or death as recorded in ACS-NSQIP. Risk-adjusted cost and quality metrics were developed using hierarchical multivariable modeling, consistent with a National Quality Forum-endorsed colectomy measure.Objective: To evaluate the relationship between risk-adjusted cost and quality for colectomy procedures and to identify characteristics of "high value" hospitals (high quality, low cost). CopyrightBackground: Policymakers are currently focused on rewarding high-value health care. Hospitals will increasingly be held accountable for both quality and cost.Results: The study population included 14,745 colectomy patients in 169 hospitals. Average hospitalization cost was $21,350 (SD $20,773, median $16,092, interquartile range $14,341-$24,598). Thirty-four percent of patients had a postoperative complication and/or death. Higher hospital quality was significantly correlated with lower cost (correlation coefficient 0.38, P 0.001). Among hospitals classified as high quality, 52% were found to be low cost (representing highest value hospitals) whereas 14% were high cost (P = 0.001). Forty-one percent of low-quality hospitals were high cost. Highest "value" hospitals represented a mix of teaching/nonteaching affiliation, small/large bed sizes, and regional locations.Conclusions: Using national ACS-NSQIP and Medicare data, this study reports an association between higher quality and lower cost surgical care. These results suggest that high-value surgical care is being delivered in a wide spectrum of hospitals and hospital types. © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Al-Aly Z.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Al-Aly Z.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Clinical Research and Epidemiology Center | Balasubramanian S.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Clinical Research and Epidemiology Center | McDonald J.R.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Clinical Research and Epidemiology Center | And 3 more authors.
Kidney International | Year: 2012

Intra-individual variability in kidney function is a common phenomenon; however, predictors of kidney function variability and its prognostic significance are not known. To examine this question, we assembled a cohort of 51,304 US veterans with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min at the end of the study period and who had at least two eGFR measurements during the previous 3 years. Variability in kidney function was defined for each patient as the coefficient of variation of the regression line fitted to all outpatient measures of eGFR during this time frame. In adjusted analyses, blacks, women, and those with Current Procedural Terminology and ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, chronic lung disease, hepatitis C, dementia, acute kidney injury, and those with a greater number of hospitalizations had greater variability in eGFR. After a median follow-up of 4.9 years, there were 23.66%, 25.68%, and 31.23% deaths among patients in the lowest, intermediate, and highest tertiles of eGFR variability, respectively. Compared with the referent (those in the lowest tertile), patients in the highest tertile had a significantly increased risk of death with a hazard ratio of 1.34 (1.28-1.40), an association consistently present in all sensitivity analyses. Thus, our results demonstrate that greater variability in kidney function is independently associated with increased risk of death. © 2012 International Society of Nephrology.


Asaad B.O.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Helwani M.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Wheeler D.M.,Cleveland Clinic | O'Connor M.S.,Cleveland Clinic
Respiratory Care | Year: 2011

We present a case of severe postoperative hypercarbia in a patient with severe COPD. Hypercarbia and respiratory acidosis continued to increase despite maximal ventilation, bronchodilator therapy, sedation, and paralysis. Mistaken use of non-partitioned ventilator circuit was the cause of the hypercarbia. The ventilator's self-test function failed to detect the error. We changed to a partitioned-lumen circuit, with much less ventilation dead space, and the hypercarbia resolved immediately. © 2011 Daedalus Enterprises.


Strasberg S.M.,Washington University in St. Louis | Hall B.L.,Washington University in St. Louis | Hall B.L.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Journal of the American College of Surgeons | Year: 2011

Background: Postoperative complications are key outcomes of surgical procedures, but currently there is no uniform quantitative measure of complication severity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and establish feasibility of quantitative morbidity scores for several common abdominal surgical procedures. Study Design: Using American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data, complications were identified in 5 common abdominal procedures for one institution in 2005-2008, including inguinal hernia, appendectomy, laparoscopic colectomy, hepatectomy, and pancreaticoduodenectomy. Complications were graded by the 6-level "expanded" Accordion Severity Grading System. Quantification was performed using severity scores described previously. Results: Six hundred and seventy-six procedures were identified, including 88 patients (13.84%) who had complications and 5 patients (0.79%) who died. After severity weighting, the postoperative morbidity index (PMI) for each procedure was derived. An index of 0 would indicate no complication in any patient and an index of 1.000 would indicate that all operated patients died. PMIs were hernia repair 0.005; appendectomy 0.031; laparoscopic colectomy 0.082; hepatectomy 0.145; and pancreaticoduodenectomy 0.150. PMI of hepatectomy was greatly affected by the presence of a second procedure, ie, 0.070 without a second procedure and 0.427 with a second procedure. Weighted severity spectragrams were developed, portraying the impact of each grade of complication on overall morbidity. Conclusions: Quantification of severity of postoperative complications is possible using American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program methods and the Accordion Severity Grading System. Procedural PMI can be useful in assessing surgical outcomes. Certain limitations, particularly the need for risk adjustment, still need to be addressed. © 2011 American College of Surgeons.


Al-Aly Z.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center | Al-Aly Z.,Saint Louis Veterans Affairs Clinical Research
Kidney International | Year: 2011

Phosphate-induced vascular calcification, characterized by induction of osteogenic programs, mineral vesicle release, and apoptosis, is prevalent in patients with kidney disease. Zhao et al. provide a mechanistic link between phosphate-induced calcification and increased mitochondrial membrane potential, increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, activation of the nuclear factor-B pathway, and subsequent expression of osteogenic genes and vascular mineralization. This link clarifies the intracellular mechanism of vascular calcification and may allow exploration of antioxidants as therapeutic agents for vascular calcification. © 2011 International Society of Nephrology.

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