The Relation Between Hospital Experience and In-Hospital Mortality for Patients with AIDS-related PCP

Published In: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 261, no. 20, May 26, 1989, p. 2975-2999

by Charles Bennett, Jeffrey B. Garfinkle, Sheldon Greenfield, David Draper, William H. Rogers, W. Christopher Mathews, David E. Kanouse

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There is marked debate by physicians and policymakers regarding the creation of regionalized acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) centers. A central issue is whether outcomes of care, particularly mortality, differ as a function of hospital experience with patients with AIDS. We evaluated the experience of 257 patients with AIDS and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia treated at 15 California hospitals between October 1986 and October 1987. An overall 15.2% in-hospital mortality rate was observed. However, a markedly lower in-hospital mortality rate was observed in the group of patients treated at hospitals that had a high level of experience with patients with AIDS (greater than or equal to 30 human immunodeficiency virus-related discharges per 10,000 hospital discharges) relative to the group treated at hospitals with less experience (less than 30 human immunodeficiency virus-related discharges per 10,000 hospital discharges): 12% vs 33%. Other factors significantly associated with in-hospital mortality included intensive care unit use, admission from an emergency department or through an interhospital transfer, and a history of hospitalizations. A logistic regression model indicated that, after controlling for severity indicators, AIDS experience remained significantly related to mortality. Our findings suggest that policymakers should consider three options: creating regional AIDS centers, implementing policies that promote a rapid but carefully monitored increase in experience of low-volume hospitals with human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals, or providing highly focused educational efforts at low-AIDS-experience facilities. Without such policy initiatives, differences in mortality rates like those we have found might persist as cases of AIDS begin to occur in every area of the country.

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