Ramifications of the Children's Surgery Verification Program for Patients and Hospitals

Katherine J. Baxter, Bonnie F. Gale, Curtis D. Travers, Kurt F. Heiss, Mehul V. Raval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The American College of Surgeons in 2015 instituted the Children's Surgery Verification program delineating requirements for hospitals providing pediatric surgical care. Our purpose was to examine possible effects of the Children's Surgery Verification program by evaluating neonates undergoing high-risk operations. Study Design: Using the Kid's Inpatient Database 2009, we identified infants undergoing operations for 5 high-risk neonatal conditions. We considered all children's hospitals and children's units Level I centers and considered all others Level II/III. We estimated the number of neonates requiring relocation and the additional distance traveled. We used propensity score adjusted logistic regression to model mortality at Level I vs Level II/III hospitals. Results: Overall, 7,938 neonates were identified across 21 states at 91 Level I and 459 Level II/III hospitals. Based on our classifications, 2,744 (34.6%) patients would need to relocate to Level I centers. The median additional distance traveled was 6.6 miles. The maximum distance traveled varied by state, from <55 miles (New Jersey and Rhode Island) to >200 miles (Montana, Oregon, Colorado, and California). The adjusted odds of mortality at Level II/III vs Level I centers was 1.67 (95% CI 1.44 to 1.93). We estimate 1 life would be saved for every 32 neonates moved. Conclusions: Although this conservative estimate demonstrates that more than one-third of complex surgical neonates in 2009 would have needed to relocate under the Children's Surgery Verification program, the additional distance traveled is relatively short for most but not all, and this program might improve mortality. Local level ramifications of this novel national program require additional investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-924.e1
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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