Financial Impact of Surgical Site Infection after Kidney Transplantation: Implications for Quality Improvement Initiative Design

Dorothy Ho, Raymond J. Lynch, David N. Ranney, Avedis Magar, Jim Kubus, Michael J. Englesbe

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38 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) after kidney transplantation has been associated with worse graft and patient survival. Although there are clinical incentives to reduce the incidence of SSI, it is unknown whether these are aligned with financial incentives for payers and providers. We use post-kidney transplant surgical site infection (SSI) to quantify the financial implications of surgical complications. The goal of this study was to quantify the financial costs of SSI after kidney transplantation and to determine the party bearing the brunt of these costs. Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study of all adult, first-time kidney-only transplant recipients at the University of Michigan Health System from September 2003 to April 2008 (n = 869). The primary exposure variable was SSI. SSI was defined as skin dehiscence, fascial dehiscence, or bowel evisceration. Primary outcomes measures were hospital revenue (payer costs), hospital inpatient costs, and hospital margin. We used simple univariate (t-test) analysis and multivariate (generalized linear regression) models to control for donor, recipient, and insurer characteristics. Results: Eighteen percent of patients had documented SSIs. In cases with an SSI hospital revenue increased by $20,176, hospital margin decreased by $4,278, and hospital costs increased by $24,454. When adjusted for donor and recipient characteristics, SSI was independently associated with an $11,132 increase in hospital revenue. Conclusions: Although SSIs have negative financial effects on both hospitals and payers, the impact is greater on payers. Payers have the primary financial incentive to reduce SSI, and broad-based, quality improvement initiatives can be prudent investments for payers. Quantification of the costs associated with SSI can be used to define financial parameters for such initiatives that might prove beneficial to multiple stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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