Multimorbidity and access to major cancer surgery at high-volume hospitals in a regionalized era

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Surgery








Cancer surgery; High-volume hospitals; Multimorbidity; Regionalized era


© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Background The Institute of Medicine has recently prioritized access of quality cancer care to vulnerable persons including multimorbid patients. Despite promotional efforts to regionalize major surgical procedures to high-volume hospitals (HVHs), little is known about change in access to HVH over time among multimorbid patients in need of major cancer surgery. We performed a time-trend appraisal of access of multimorbid persons to HVH for major cancer surgery within a large nationally representative cohort. Methods We identified 168,934 patients who underwent 6 major cancer surgeries from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (1998 to 2010). Comorbidities were identified using Elixhauser's method. HVHs were defined as hospitals of highest procedure volumes that treated 1/3 of all the patients. Logistic regression models and predictive margins were used to assess the adjusted effects of comorbidity on receiving major cancer surgeries at HVH. Results Of all, 45.7% of the patients had 2 comorbidities or more. Multimorbidity predicted decreased access to HVH for esophagectomy, total gastrectomy, pancreatectomy, hepatectomy, and proctectomy, but not for distal gastrectomy, after controlling for covariates. A comorbidity level by year interaction analysis also showed that little disparity existed for receiving distal gastrectomy at an HVH, whereas the predicted difference in probability of receiving any of the other 5 major cancer procedures remained prominent between the years 1998 and 2010. Conclusions In this large 12-year time-trend study, multimorbid cancer patients have sustained low access to HVH for major cancer surgery across many oncologic resections. These results continue to reinforce and highlight the need for policy targeted research and intervention aimed at improving these access gaps.

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