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Administrative Coding Methods Impact Surgical Site Infection Rates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2020

Mohammed Alsuhaibani
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Health Care
Mohammed Alzunitan
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Health Care
Kyle Jenn
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Daniel Diekema
Affiliation:
University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine
Michael Edmond
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Mary Kukla
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Healthcare
Stephanie Holley
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics
Holly Meacham
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics
Oluchi Abosi
Affiliation:
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Jorge Salinas
Affiliation:
University of Iowa
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Abstract

Background: Surveillance for surgical site infections (SSI) is recommended by the CDC. Currently, colon and abdominal hysterectomy SSI rates are publicly available and impact hospital reimbursement. However, the CDC NHSN allows surgical procedures to be abstracted based on International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) or current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. We assessed the impact of using ICD and/or CPT codes on the number of cases abstracted and SSI rates. Methods: We retrieved administrative codes (ICD and/or CPT) for procedures performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics over 1 year: October 2018–September 2019. We included 10 procedure types: colon, hysterectomy, cesarean section, breast, cardiac, craniotomy, spinal fusion, laminectomy, hip prosthesis, and knee prosthesis surgeries. We then calculated the number of procedures that would be abstracted if we used different permutations in administration codes: (1) ICD codes only, (2) CPT codes only, (3) both ICD and CPT codes, and (4) at least 1 code from either ICD or CPT. We then calculated the impact on SSI rates based on any of the 4 coding permutations. Results: In total, 9,583 surgical procedures and 180 SSIs were detected during the study period using the fourth method (ICD or CPT codes). Denominators varied according to procedure type and coding method used. The number of procedures abstracted for breast surgery had a >10-fold difference if reported based on ICD only versus ICD or CPT codes (104 vs 1,109). Hip prosthesis had the lowest variation (638 vs 767). For SSI rates, cesarean section showed almost a 3-fold increment (2.6% when using ICD only to 7.32% with both ICD & CPT), whereas abdominal hysterectomy showed nearly a 2-fold increase (1.14% when using CPT only to 2.22% with both ICD & CPT codes). However, SSI rates remained fairly similar for craniotomy (0.14% absolute difference), hip prosthesis (0.24% absolute difference), and colon (0.09% absolute difference) despite differences in the number of abstracted procedures and coding methods. Conclusions: Denominators and SSI rates vary depending on the coding method used. Variations in the number of procedures abstracted and their subsequent impact on SSI rates were not predictable. Variations in coding methods used by hospitals could impact interhospital comparisons and benchmarking, potentially leading to disparities in public reporting and hospital penalties.

Funding: None

Disclosures: None

Type
Poster Presentations
Copyright
© 2020 by The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. All rights reserved.
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