Non-whites get readmitted more often after joint replacement surgery: Study

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Non-whites covered by Medicaid and Medicare are significantly more likely to be readmitted to a hospital within 30 days after total joint replacement surgery than whites, according to a new study that was unveiled on Thursday at the 2015 Annual Meeting of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Study authors theorized that poorer outcomes may be related to limited availability of doctors and surgical care options.  

The four-year study of more than 53,000 Connecticut hospital patients began with the presumption that while race and ethnic disparities in hospital readmissions for several major illnesses and conditions are well documented, there is little evidence regarding disparities in readmission following joint replacement surgery.

Among the major conclusions: Black and Hispanic patients were 62% and 50%, respectively, more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after TJR surgery than white patients. Black patients remained significantly more likely than white patients to be readmitted following surgery, after controlling for comorbidities, according to the study.

Moreover, Medicaid and Medicare patients were 40% and 30% more likely, respectively, to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after TJR surgery than patients with private insurance.