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Comparing Postoperative Readmission Rates Between Veterans Receiving Total Knee Arthroplasty in the Veterans Health Administration Versus Community Care.

Rosen AK, Beilstein-Wedel EE, Harris AHS, Shwartz M, Vanneman ME, Wagner TH, Giori NJ. Comparing Postoperative Readmission Rates Between Veterans Receiving Total Knee Arthroplasty in the Veterans Health Administration Versus Community Care. Medical care. 2022 Feb 1; 60(2):178-186.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: There are growing concerns that Veterans'' increased use of Veterans Health Administration (VA)-purchased care in the community may lead to lower quality of care. OBJECTIVE: We compared rates of hospital readmissions following elective total knee arthroplasties (TKAs) that were either performed in VA or purchased by VA through community care (CC) at both the national and facility levels. METHODS: Three-year cohort study using VA and CC administrative data from the VA''s Corporate Data Warehouse (October 1, 2016-September 30, 2019). We obtained Medicare data to capture readmissions that were paid by Medicare. We used the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) methods to identify unplanned, 30-day, all-cause readmissions. A secondary outcome, TKA-related readmissions, identified readmissions resulting from complications of the index surgery. We ran mixed-effects logistic regression models to compare the risk-adjusted odds of all-cause and TKA-related readmissions between TKAs performed in VA versus CC, adjusting for patients'' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Nationally, the odds of experiencing an all-cause or TKA-related readmission were significantly lower for TKAs performed in VA versus CC (eg, the odds of experiencing an all-cause readmission in VA were 35% of those in CC. At the facility level, most VA facilities performed similarly to their corresponding CC providers, although there were 3 VA facilities that performed worse than their corresponding CC providers. CONCLUSIONS: Given VA''s history in providing high-quality surgical care to Veterans, it is important to closely monitor and track whether the shift to CC for surgical care will impact quality in both settings over time.





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