As the status of health-care insurance changes in the United States, studies have indicated that uninsured patients are less likely to receive timely and quality health care. Previous studies of appendicitis have shown that insurance status may effect the stage of presentation and outcome. However, these studies were based on databases lacking information regarding stage of presentation, timeliness of diagnosis and treatment, and character of hospitalization (length of stay, duration of antibiotic therapy, hospital costs). We accomplished a case control study, retrospective analysis of 975 patients treated for acute appendicitis between January 1996 and December 1999. Times to operation, number of preoperative outpatient visits, number of studies, severity of presentation, length of antibiotics and hospital stay, and hospital costs were analyzed [analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques, P < 0.05 significant]. We sought answers to the following: (1) Did insurance status affect the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment? (2) Did insurance status affect the stage of presentation? (3) Did insurance status affect hospitalization, as measured by length of stay, duration of antibiotic therapy, and hospital costs? (4) Did age affect outcome independent of insurance status? There were no correlations between insurance status and timeliness of diagnosis or severity of presentation. Length of stay and hospital costs were also not different between insurance categories. Pediatric patients (<12 years old) and the elderly (>65 years old) presented with more advanced appendicitis, independent of insurance category. In contrast to previously published data, the treatment of acute appendicitis is not affected by insurance coverage in the sample community. Age and timeliness of presentation were the only factors correlating to outcomes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - 2003|
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