Objectives: We sought to assess the rate of unplanned hospital visits among patients undergoing ambulatory surgery. Summary Background Data: The majority of surgeries performed in the United States now take place in outpatient settings. Post-discharge hospital visit rates have been shown to vary widely, suggesting variation in surgical or discharge care quality. Complicating efforts to address quality, most facilities and surgeons are unaware of their patients' hospital visits after surgery since patients may present to a different hospital. Methods: We used state-level, administrative data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project from California to assess unplanned hospital visits after ambulatory surgery. To compare rates across centers, we determined the age, sex, and procedure-adjusted rates of hospital visits for each facility using 2-level, hierarchical, generalized linear models using methods similar to existing Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services measures. Results: Among a total of 1,260,619 ambulatory same-day surgeries from 440 surgical facilities, the risk adjusted 30-day rate of unplanned hospital visits was 4.8%, with emergency department visits of 3.1% and hospital admissions of 1.7%. Several patient characteristics were associated with increased risk of unplanned hospitals visits, including increased age, increased number of comorbidities (using the Elixhauser score), and type of procedure (p<0.001). Conclusions: The overall rate unplanned hospital visits within 30 days after same-day surgery is low but variable, suggesting a difference in the quality of care provided. Further, these rates are higher among specific patient populations and procedure types, suggesting areas for targeted improvement.
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