Managing acute cholecystitis among Medicaid insured in New York State: opportunities to optimize care

Anne Stey*, Alexander J. Greenstein, Arthur Aufses, Alan J. Moskowitz, Natalia N. Egorova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Identifying sources of unnecessary cost within Medicaid will help focus cost containment efforts. This study sought to identify differences in surgical management and associated costs of cholecystitis between Medicaid and privately insured in New York State. Methods: The New York State all-payer mandatory discharge database from 2003 to 2013, had 297,635 patients with Medicaid (75,512) and privately (222,123) insurance who underwent cholecystectomy for cholecystitis. Patients were stratified by insurance. Four surgical management approaches were delineated based on cholecystectomy timing: primary, interval, emergency, and delayed cholecystectomy. Delayed cholecystectomy was defined as more than one hospital visit from diagnosis to definitive cholecystectomy. Medicaid and privately insured patients were propensity score matched. Surgical management approach and associated costs were compared between matched cohorts. Results: A greater proportion of Medicaid patients underwent delayed cholecystectomy compared to matched privately insured patients, 8.5 versus 4.8%; P < 0.001. Primary initial cholecystectomy was performed in fewer Medicaid compared to privately insured patients, 55.4 versus 66.0%, P < 0.001. Primary initial cholecystectomy was the cheapest surgical management approach, with the median cost of $3707, and delayed cholecystectomy was the most expensive, $12,212, P < 0.001. The median cost per Medicaid patient was $6170 versus $4804 per matched privately insured patient, P < 0.001. The annual predicted cost savings for New York State Medicaid would be $13,097,371, if the distribution of surgical management approaches were proportionally similar to private insurance. Conclusions: Medicaid patients with cholecystitis were more frequently managed with delayed cholecystectomy than privately insured patients, which had substantial cost implications for the New York Medicaid Program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2212-2221
Number of pages10
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Cost
  • Delayed choleycstectomy
  • Medicaid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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