Association of Hospital Discharge Against Medical Advice With Readmission and In-Hospital Mortality. Journal Article

Authors: Tan, SY; Feng, JY; Joyce, C; Fisher, J; Mostaghimi, A
Article Title: Association of Hospital Discharge Against Medical Advice With Readmission and In-Hospital Mortality.
Abstract: Importance: Hospital readmissions contribute to higher expenditures and may sometimes reflect suboptimal patient care. Individuals discharged against medical advice (AMA) are a vulnerable patient population and may have higher risk for readmission. Objectives: To determine odds of readmission and mortality for patients discharged AMA vs all others, to characterize patient and hospital-level factors associated with readmissions, and to quantify their overall cost burden. Design, Setting, and Participants: Nationally representative, all-payer cohort study using the 2014 National Readmissions Database. Eligible index admissions were nonobstetrical/newborn hospitalizations for patients 18 years and older discharged between January 2014 and November 2014. Admissions were excluded if there was a missing primary diagnosis, discharge disposition, length of stay, or if the patient died during that hospitalization. Data were analyzed between January 2018 and June 2018. Exposures: Discharge AMA and non-AMA discharge. Main Outcomes and Measures: Thirty-day all-cause readmission and in-hospital mortality rate. Results: There were 19.9 million weighted index admissions, of which 1.5% resulted in an AMA discharge. Within the AMA cohort, 85% were younger than 65 years, 63% were male, 55% had Medicaid or other (including uninsured) coverage, and 39% were in the lowest income quartile. Thirty-day all-cause readmission was 21.0% vs 11.9% for AMA vs non-AMA discharge (P?.001), and 30-day in-hospital mortality was 2.5% vs 5.6% (P?.001), respectively. Individuals discharged AMA were more likely to be readmitted to a different hospital compared with non-AMA patients (43.0% vs 23.9%; P?.001). Of all 30-day readmissions, 19.0% occurred within the first day after AMA discharge vs 6.1% for non-AMA patients (P?.001). On multivariable regression, AMA discharge was associated with a 2.01 (95% CI, 1.97-2.05) increased adjusted odds of readmission and a 0.80 (95% CI, 0.74-0.87) decreased adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality compared with non-AMA discharge. Nationwide readmissions after AMA discharge accounted for more than 400?000 inpatient hospitalization days at a total cost of $822 million in 2014. Conclusions and Relevance: Individuals discharged AMA have higher odds of 30-day readmission at significant cost to the health care system and lower in-hospital mortality rates compared with non-AMA patients. Patients discharged AMA are also more likely to be readmitted to different hospitals and to have earlier bounce-back readmissions, which may reflect dissatisfaction with their initial episode of care.
Journal Title: JAMA network open
Publisher: Unknown  
Date Published: 2020