Long-Term Inpatient Hospital Utilisation and Costs (2007–2008 to 2015–2016) for Publicly Waitlisted Bariatric Surgery Patients in an Australian Public Hospital System Based on Australia’s Activity-Based Funding Model
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by J A Campbell, Martin Hensher, D Davies, M Green, B Hagan, I Jordan, A Venn, A Kuzminov, A Neil, S Wilkinson, A J Palmer
© 2019, The Author(s). Background: Within the Australian public hospital setting, no studies have previously reported total hospital utilisation and costs (pre/postoperatively) and costed patient-level pathways for primary bariatric surgery and surgical sequelae (including secondary surgery) informed by Australia’s Independent Hospital Pricing Authority’s activity-based funding (ABF) model. Objective: We aimed to provide our Tasmanian state government partner with information regarding key evidence gaps about the resource use and costs of bariatric surgery (including pre- and postoperatively, types of surgery and comorbidities), the costs of surgical sequelae and policy direction regarding the types of bariatric surgery offered within the Tasmanian public hospital system. Methods: Hospital inpatient length of stay (days), episodes of care (number) and aggregated cost data were extracted for people who were waiting for and subsequently received bariatric surgery (for the fiscal years 2007–2008 to 2015–2016) from administrative sources routinely collected, clinically coded/costed according to ABF. Aggregated ABF costs were expressed in 2016–2017 Australian dollars ($A). Sensitivity (cost outliers) and subgroup analyses were conducted. Results: A total of 105 patients entered the study. Total costs (pre/postoperative over 8 years) for all inpatient episodes of care (n = 779 episodes of care) were $A6,018,349. When the ten cost outliers were omitted from the total cost, this cost reduced to $A4,749,265. Mean costs for primary laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG) bariatric surgery were $A14,622 and $A15,014, respectively. The average cost/episode of care for people with diabetes decreased in the first year postoperatively, from $A7258 to $A5830/episode of care. In total, 27 LAGB patients (30%) required surgery due to surgical sequelae (including revisional/secondary surgery; n = 58 episodes of care) and 56% of these episodes of care were secondary LAGB device related (mostly port/reservoir related), with a mean cost of $A6267. Conclusions: Taking into account our small SG sample size and the short time horizon for investigating surgical sequalae for SG, costs may be mitigated in the Tasmanian public hospital system by substituting LAGB with SG when clinically appropriate due to costs associated with the LAGB device for some patients. At 3 years postoperatively versus preoperatively, episodes of care and costs reduced substantially, particularly for people with diabetes/cardiovascular disease. We recommend that a larger confirmatory study of bariatric surgery including LAGB and SG be undertaken of disaggregated ABF costs in the Tasmanian public hospital system.