Research Highlights Health Disparities in Patients Undergoing Colectomies

Colectomies are one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. A new study by Dahniel Sastow and researchers from the Center for Perioperative Outcomes (CPO) finds that a patient’s insurance status is a predictor for worse surgical outcomes following this procedure. 

In the study, published in the Journal of Surgical Research, researchers reviewed State Inpatient Databases (SID) for 444,877 patients in California, Florida, New York, Maryland, and Kentucky from 2009 to 2014. They found that open colectomies were more common among Medicaid patients, whereas robotic-assisted and laparoscopic surgeries were more prevalent in private insurance holders. Open colectomies are associated with worse postoperative outcomes and higher costs.

Researchers also found that Medicaid patients had secondary outcomes such as longer length of stay, higher readmission rates and more postoperative complications compared to patients with private insurance. 

“It is important to recognize insurance status as an important predictor of disparity of care and strive to find ways to improve it,” said Sastow. 

Sastow’s research is part of a multi-project effort by the CPO designed to investigate causes and methods for addressing healthcare disparities in surgical and anesthesia patients. The project is supervised by Dr. Zachary Turnbull, director of the CPO and medical director of performance improvement; Dr. Robert White, an obstetric anesthesiology fellow; and Anna Nachamie, operations administrator for the CPO and medical education. Dr. Kane Pryor, director of clinical research for the Department of Anesthesiology, served as a faculty mentor.

Co-authors of the study are Dr. Robert White, Elizabeth Mauer, Yuefan Chen, Licia Gaber-Baylis, and Dr. Zachary Turnbull. 


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Center for Perioperative Outcomes
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital 
Weill Cornell Medical Center
428 East 72nd Street, Suite 800A
New York, NY 10021