Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 3, pp 1047–1053

Fee-based Care is Important for Access to Prompt Treatment of Hip Fractures Among Veterans

  • Kelly K. Richardson
  • Peter Cram
  • Mary Vaughan-Sarrazin
  • Peter J. Kaboli
Clinical Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11999-013-2783-3

Cite this article as:
Richardson, K.K., Cram, P., Vaughan-Sarrazin, M. et al. Clin Orthop Relat Res (2013) 471: 1047. doi:10.1007/s11999-013-2783-3

Abstract

Background

Hip fracture is a medical emergency for which delayed treatment increases risk of disability and death. In emergencies, veterans without access to a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital may be admitted to non-VA hospitals under fee-based (NVA-FB) care paid by the VA. The affect of NVA-FB care for treatment and outcomes of hip fractures is unknown.

Questions/Purposes

This research seeks to answer three questions: (1) What patient characteristics determine use of VA versus NVA-FB hospitals for hip fracture? (2) Does time between admission and surgery differ by hospital (VA versus NVA-FB)? (3) Does mortality differ by hospital?

Methods

Veterans admitted for hip fractures to VA (n = 9308) and NVA-FB (n = 1881) hospitals from 2003 to 2008 were identified. Primary outcomes were time to surgery and death. Logistic regression identified patient characteristics associated with NVA-FB hospital admissions; differences in time to surgery and death were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression, controlling for patient covariates.

Results

Patients admitted to NVA-FB hospitals were more likely to be younger, have service-connected disabilities, and live more than 50 miles from a VA hospital. Median days to surgery were less for NVA-FB admissions compared with VA admissions (1 versus 3 days, respectively). NVA-FB admissions were associated with 21% lower relative risk of death within 1 year compared with VA hospital admissions.

Conclusions

For veterans with hip fractures, NVA-FB hospital admission was associated with shorter time to surgery and lower 1-year mortality. These findings suggest fee-based care, especially for veterans living greater distances from VA hospitals, may improve access to care and health outcomes.

Level of Evidence

Level II, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly K. Richardson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Cram
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mary Vaughan-Sarrazin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Peter J. Kaboli
    • 2
    • 3
    • 1
  1. 1.Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation CenterIowa City VA Healthcare SystemIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Veterans Rural Health Resource Center - Central RegionIowa City VA Healthcare SystemIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.University of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA