Relationship Between Type of Health Insurance and Time to Inpatient Rehabilitation Placement for Surgical Subspecialty Patients

Peter C. Gerszten, Timothy F. Witham, Brent L. Clyde, William C. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A significant proportion of patients on a neurosurgical service require inpatient rehabilitation placement after discharge. The relationship between the type of health insurance of the patient at the time of admission and the time to placement of patients has not previously been addressed. We prospectively studied all patients on the adult neurosurgical service at our hospital to determine whether the type of health insurance carried by patients is related to the time necessary to arrange acceptance into inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Ninety-one patients (51 men, 40 women; mean age, 56 years) admitted to the neurosurgery service during a 6-month period required inpatient rehabilitation placement after discharge. The time in days between the request for placement into a rehabilitation facility and the acceptance of the patient was examined. The mean time for placement of patients with and without health insurance at the time of admission was 0.8 days and 2.1 days, respectively (overall mean, 1.1 days) (P < .002). No statistically significant associations were found between age, sex, or race of the patient and the time to placement. In addition, there was no difference in the time to placement between those patients admitted as a result of trauma and those patients admitted for reasons other than trauma. These results indicate that among patients on a neurosurgical service, patients with private health insurance are accepted into inpatient rehabilitation approximately 1 day sooner than patients without private health insurance. Patients without private health insurance are delayed in their transfer to inpatient rehabilitation facilities and more aggressive inpatient rehabilitation. How this finding translates into an increase in cost of care or a decrease in patient outcomes is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-215
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2001



  • Head injury
  • health insurance
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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