-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, May 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery patients
covered by Medicaid do worse than those with private insurance,
according to a new study.
Compared to patients with private insurance, those covered by
Medicaid were more than twice as likely to die within a month of
surgery. They also had many more emergency operations and
two-thirds more complications after surgery, the study found. Those
on Medicaid used 50 percent more hospital resources, had longer
hospital stays and ended up back in the hospital more often than
those with private insurance.
Medicaid patients tended to be younger than those with private
insurance, but were twice as likely to smoke. Folks on Medicaid
also had higher rates of conditions that make surgery more risky,
including diabetes, lung disease and blood vessel blockages.
The findings, published online May 12 in the journal
JAMA Surgery, are important because millions of uninsured
people will become eligible to enroll in Medicaid programs that 26
states have expanded under the Affordable Care Act, the University
of Michigan Medical School researchers said.
The team analyzed data from nearly 14,000 patients, aged 18 to
64, who had surgery in 52 Michigan hospitals over one year and were
covered by either Medicaid or private insurance. Patients who also
had Medicare coverage or had no insurance weren't included in the
The researchers noted that previous studies suggest that many
newly insured patients will use their new coverage to seek care for
previously untreated conditions, including those that require
Hospitals often aren't reimbursed for the total cost of caring
for Medicaid patients, so these findings also suggest that some
hospitals will face financial challenges in coming years, the study
"If we make the presumption that the new Medicaid-covered patients will fit the mold of what we see now, surgical and inpatient teams must be prepared to provide the care and support they need," study leader and surgical resident Dr. Seth Waits said in a university news release.
"Financially, it may be a double whammy for hospitals, especially those that have the highest percentage of their surgical population covered by Medicaid," he explained.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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