Abstract

Background

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is characterized by marked heterogeneity in clinical manifestations, severity and utilization of health care services. This heterogeneity is particularly evident with regards to utilization of inpatient services, which account for a large percentage of total health care costs and significant absence from school and work. Previous studies of utilization, based on analysis of administrative datasets, have been limited by inaccuracies in ICD-coding, inability to differentiate among SCD genotypes, and/or inability to capture individuals never hospitalized. Single center studies have been limited by potential disease severity referral bias, inability to capture service utilization at outside facilities, and relatively small numbers.

Objectives

We sought to identify children and adolescents with SCD with high hospital utilization (HHU) and to determine the relationship of HHU with age, SCD genotype, and insurance coverage. We also sought to examine trends over a three year period (2010-2012) and explore the relationship of any trends in hospital utilization over time.

Methods

The clinical database of the SCD Program at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) was used to identify all patients with SCD, ages ≥ 5 years, who received comprehensive outpatient, acute care, and inpatient services at three CHOA facilities in metro Atlanta during 2010-2012. SCD genotype was confirmed for each patient by review of hematologic and clinical data, including results of diagnostic hemoglobin electrophoresis. All outpatient clinic, emergency department, and inpatient utilization was captured as well as insurance (payer) status at each encounter. HHU was defined as ≥3 admissions during a calendar year. Data were analyzed for significance by Chi-square. The extent to which the data were population-based was determined from the Georgia Hospital Association database with includes DRG-level data for all inpatient hospitalizations in Georgia.

Results

Hospitalizations at CHOA accounted for 96.1% of all SCD admissions for children within the 28-county greater metro Atlanta area. During 2010-2012, 1348 individual children and adolescents ≥ 5yr of age with SCD received comprehensive care at CHOA (1076 in 2010, 1112 in 2011, 1159 in 2012): 928 (68.8%) had SS/S β°thal, 334 (24.8%) SC, 86 (6.4%) S β+thal. Of 1159 active patients in 2012, 441 (38.1%) were 5-9 yr of age, 419 (36.2%) 10-14 yr, 299 (25.8%) ≥ 15 yr; 474 (40.9%) had traditional medicaid (MC), 205 (17.7%) managed-care medicaid (MMC), 374 (32.3%) private payer (PP), and 105 (9.1%) multiple payers (MP). HHU (≥ 3 admissions/yr) decreased from 119 of 1076 (11.1%) in 2010 to 96 of 1112 (8.6%) in 2011 and 95 of 1159 (8.2%) in 2012 (p <.01). The Table shows percentage HHU for each year by age, genotype, and payer.

Table
 Age (years) SCD Genotype Payer  
Year 5-9 10-14 ≥15 SS/S βo SC S β+ MC MMC PP MP Total 
2010 8.1 9.6 16.9 < .01 13.3 5.8 4.6 < .01 15 4.4 7.6 19.8 < .01 11.1 
2011 5.5 7.2 14.1 < .01 10.8 6.6 4.3 0.12 11.8 5.8 5.6 11.3 0.01 8.6 
2012 3.6 10.2 12 < .01 8.6 8.1 5.8 0.65 10.7 4.3 5.9 12.4 < .01 8.2 
 Age (years) SCD Genotype Payer  
Year 5-9 10-14 ≥15 SS/S βo SC S β+ MC MMC PP MP Total 
2010 8.1 9.6 16.9 < .01 13.3 5.8 4.6 < .01 15 4.4 7.6 19.8 < .01 11.1 
2011 5.5 7.2 14.1 < .01 10.8 6.6 4.3 0.12 11.8 5.8 5.6 11.3 0.01 8.6 
2012 3.6 10.2 12 < .01 8.6 8.1 5.8 0.65 10.7 4.3 5.9 12.4 < .01 8.2 
Conclusions

For children and adolescents with SCD, HHU decreased during the three year period. HHU was significantly associated with older age and with MC and MP insurance coverage during all three years. HHU was significantly associated with the SS/S β°thal genotype in 2010, but not in 2011-12. The extent to which the decline of HHU among patients with SS/S β°thal genotype was related to increasing use of hydroxyurea is being investigated.

Disclosures:

Off Label Use: Hydroxyurea is not FDA approved for use in children.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.