The effect of the Affordable Care Act on rates on inpatient rehabilitation hospital admission in a mature trauma system.

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BACKGROUND: The beneficial effects of acute rehabilitation for trauma patients are well documented but can be limited because of insurance coverage. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect on March 23, 2010. The ACA allowed patients who previously did not have insurance to be fully incorporated into the health system. We sought to analyze the likelihood of discharge to rehab for trauma patients before and after the implementation of the ACA. We hypothesized that there would be a higher rate of inpatient rehabilitation hospital (IRH) admission after the ACA was put into effect.

METHODS: The Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study (PTOS) database was retrospectively queried from 2003 to 2017 for all trauma patients admitted to accredited trauma centers in Pennsylvania, who also had a functional status at discharge (FSD). Admission to an IRH was determined using discharge destination. Two categories were created to represent periods before and after ACA was implemented, 2003 to 2009 (pre-ACA) and 2010-2017 (post-ACA). A multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression model controlling for demographics, injury severity, and FSD assessed the adjusted impact of ACA implementation on IRH admissions.

RESULTS: From the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study query, 341,252 patients had FSD scores and of these patients, 47,522 (13.9%) were admitted to IRH. Patients who were severely injured were more likely to be admitted to IRH. Compared with FSD scores signifying complete independence at discharge, those with lower FSD had significantly increased odds of IRH admission. The odds of IRH admission post-ACA implementation significantly increased when compared with pre-ACA years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-1.17; p < 0.001; area under the receiver operating curve, 0.818).

CONCLUSION: The implementation of the ACA significantly increased the likelihood of discharge to IRH for trauma patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Care management, level III.


This article was published in Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Volume 90, Issue 3, pages 544-549.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1097/ta.0000000000003046.

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery

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