The purpose of this study was to assess how quality and volume of common orthopaedic care varies across private, municipal, and federal healthcare delivery systems (HDSs).
Hip and knee arthroplasty, knee and shoulder arthroscopy, and hip fracture repair were audited over a two-year period. Electronic medical records were reviewed for demographics, diagnosis, lengths of stay (LoSs), surgical wait times, inpatient complication, readmission, and revision surgery rates. Multivariate regression controlled for differences in age, sex, diagnosis, and Charlson Comorbidity Index to determine how HDS correlated with surgical wait time, length of stay, complication rates, readmission, and revision surgery.
The 5,696 included patients comprise 87.4% private, 8.6% municipal, and 4.0% federal HDSs. Compared with private HDS for arthroplasty, federal surgical wait times were 18 days shorter (95% CI = 9 to 26 days, P < 0.001); federal LoS was 4 days longer (95% CI = 3.6 to 4.3 days, P < 0.001); municipal LoS was 1 day longer (95% CI = 0.8 to 1.4, P < 0.001); municipal 1-year revision surgery odds were increased (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.3 to 5.4, P = 0.045); and complication odds increased for municipal (OR = 12.2, 95% CI = 5.2 to 27.4, P < 0.001) and federal (OR = 12.0, 95% CI = 4.5 to 30.8, P < 0.001) HDSs. Compared with private HDS for arthroscopy, municipal wait times were 57 days longer (95% CI = 48 to 66 days, P < 0.001) and federal wait times were 34 days longer (95% CI = 21 to 47 days, P < 0.001). Compared with private HDS for fracture repair, municipal wait times were 0.6 days longer (95% CI = 0.2 to 1.0, P = 0.02); federal LoS was 7 days longer (95% CI = 3.6 to 9.4 days, P < 0.001); and municipal LoS was 4 days longer (95% CI = 2.4 to 4.8, P < 0.001). Only private HDS fracture repair patients received bone health consultations.
The private HDS provided care for a markedly larger volume of patients seeking orthopaedic care. In addition, private HDS patients experienced reduced surgical wait times, LoSs, and complication odds for inpatient elective cases, with better referral patterns for nonsurgical orthopaedic care after hip fractures within the private HDS. These results may guide improvements for federal and municipal HDSs.