Critical access hospitals post higher transfer rates after surgery

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) have higher transfer rates after surgery, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery. Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the American Hospital Association to examine patients undergoing six common surgical procedures, measuring hospital transfer, discharge with post-acute care and routine discharge. A greater proportion of patients from the 1,283 CAHs were transferred to another hospital; however, discharges from CAHs were less likely to receive post-acute care for all but one of the procedures examined--transurethral resection of the prostate. Because CAHs are exempt from Medicare's Prospective Payment System, there is growing interest in the quality and cost of care at these hospitals, the authors said. "These results will affect the ongoing deliberations concerning CAH payment policy and its implications for healthcare delivery in rural communities," they wrote. Study