Post-acute care referral in United States of America: a multiregional study of factors associated with referral destination in a cohort of patients with coronary artery bypass graft or valve replacement. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The use of post-acute care (PAC) for cardiovascular conditions is highly variable across geographical regions. Although PAC benefits include lower readmission rates, better clinical outcomes, and lower mortality, referral patterns vary widely, raising concerns about substandard care and inflated costs. The objective of this study is to identify factors associated with PAC referral decisions at acute care discharge. METHODS: This study is a retrospective Electronic Health Records (EHR) based review of a cohort of patients with coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and valve replacement (VR). EHR records were extracted from the Cerner Health-Facts Data warehouse and covered 49 hospitals in the United States of America (U.S.) from January 2010 to December 2015. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify associations of 29 variables comprising patient characteristics, hospital profiles, and patient conditions at discharge. RESULTS: The cohort had 14,224 patients with mean age 63.5years, with 10,234 (71.9%) male and 11,946 (84%) Caucasian, with 5827 (40.96%) being discharged to home without additional care (Home), 5226 (36.74%) to home health care (HHC), 1721 (12.10%) to skilled nursing facilities (SNF), 1168 (8.22%) to inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF), 164 (1.15%) to long term care hospitals (LTCH), and 118 (0.83%) to other locations. Census division, hospital size, teaching hospital status, gender, age, marital status, length of stay, and Charlson comorbidity index were identified as highly significant variables (p- values <0.001) that influence the PAC referral decision. Overall model accuracy was 62.6%, and multiclass Area Under the Curve (AUC) values were for Home: 0.72; HHC: 0.72; SNF: 0.58; IRF: 0.53; LTCH: 0.52, and others: 0.46. CONCLUSIONS: Census location of the acute care hospital was highly associated with PAC referral practices, as was hospital capacity, with larger hospitals referring patients to PAC at a greater rate than smaller hospitals. Race and gender were also statistically significant, with Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans being less likely to be referred to PAC compared to Caucasians, and female patients being more likely to be referred than males. Additional analysis indicated that PAC referral practices are also influenced by the mix of PAC services offered in each region.

published proceedings

  • BMC Med Inform Decis Mak

author list (cited authors)

  • Sultana, I., Erraguntla, M., Kum, H., Delen, D., & Lawley, M.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Sultana, Ineen||Erraguntla, Madhav||Kum, Hye-Chung||Delen, Dursun||Lawley, Mark

publication date

  • November 2019