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Medical costs, Cesarean delivery rates, and length of stay in specialty hospitals vs. non-specialty hospitals in South Korea

Medical costs, Cesarean delivery rates, and length of stay in specialty hospitals vs. non-specialty hospitals in South Korea

Plos One 12(11): E0188612

Since 2011, specialty hospitals in South Korea have been known for providing high- quality care in specific clinical areas. Much research related to specialty hospitals and their performance in many such areas has been performed, but investigations about their performance in obstetrics and gynecology are lacking. Thus, we aimed to compare specialty vs. non-specialty hospitals with respect to mode of obstetric delivery, especially the costs and length of stay related to Cesarean section (CS) procedures, and to provide evidence to policy-makers for evaluating the success of hospitals that specialize in obstetric and gynecological (OBGYN) care. We obtained National Health Insurance claim data from 2012 to 2014, which included information from 418,141 OBGYN cases at 214 hospitals. We used a generalized estimating equation model to identify a potential association between the likelihood of CS at specialty hospitals compared with other hospitals. We also evaluated medical costs and length of stay in specialty hospitals according to type of delivery. We found that 150,256 (35.9%) total deliveries were performed by CS. The odds ratio of CS was significantly lower in specialty hospitals (OR: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.93-0.96compared to other hospitals Medical costs (0.74%) and length of stay (1%) in CS cases increased in specialty hospitals, although length of stay following vaginal delivery was lower (0.57%) in specialty hospitals compared with other hospitals. We determined that specialty hospitals are significantly associated with a lower likelihood of CS delivery and shorter length of stay after vaginal delivery. Although they are also associated with higher costs for delivery, the increased cost could be due to the high level of intensive care provided, which leads to improve quality of care. Policy-makers should consider incentive programs to maintain performance of specialty hospitals and promote efficiency that could reduce medical costs accrued by patients.

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Accession: 065306549

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PMID: 29190768

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