BACKGROUND: As fewer surgeons take emergency general surgery call and hospitals decrease emergency services, a crisis in access looms in the United States. We examined national emergency general surgery capacity and county-level determinants of access to emergency general surgery care with special attention to disparities.
METHODS: To identify potential emergency general surgery hospitals, we queried the database of the American Hospital Association for "acute care general hospital," with "surgical services," and "emergency department," and > /=1 "operating room." Internet search and direct contact confirmed emergency general surgery services that covered the emergency room 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Geographic and population-level emergency general surgery access was derived from Geographic Information Systems and US Census.
RESULTS: Of the 6,356 hospitals in the 2013 American Hospital Association database, only 2,811 were emergency general surgery hospitals. Counties with greater percentages of black, Hispanic, uninsured, and low-education individuals and rural counties disproportionately lacked access to emergency general surgery care. For example, counties above the 75th percentile of African American population (10.2%) had > 80% odds of not having an emergency general surgery hospital compared with counties below the 25th percentile of African American population (0.6%).
CONCLUSION: Gaps in access to emergency general surgery services exist across the United States, disproportionately affecting underserved, rural communities. Policy initiatives need to increase emergency general surgery capacity nationwide.
- UMCCTS funding
Surgery. 2018 Feb;163(2):243-250. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2017.07.026. Epub 2017 Oct 16. Link to article on publisher's site
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catarina_kiefe/277/