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Health Serv Res. 2001 Oct;36(5):869-84.

Outpatient mastectomy: clinical, payer, and geographic influences.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.



To determine (1) the use of outpatient services for all surgical breast procedures for breast cancer and (2) the influence of payer and state on the use of outpatient services for complete mastectomy in light of state and federal length-of-stay managed care legislation.


Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project representing all discharges from hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers for five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York) and seven years (1990-96).


Longitudinal, cross-sectional analyses of all women undergoing inpatient and outpatient complete mastectomy (CMAS), subtotal mastectomy (STMAS), and lumpectomy (LUMP) for cancer were employed. Total age-adjusted rates and percentage of outpatient CMAS, STMAS, and LUMP were compared. Independent influence of state and HMO payer on likelihood of receiving an outpatient CMAS was determined from multivariate models, adjusting for clinical characteristics (age < 50 years, comorbidity, metastases, simple mastectomy, breast reconstruction) and hospital characteristics (teaching, ownership, urban).


In 1993, 1 to 2 percent of CMASs were outpatient in all states. By 1996, 8 percent of CMASs were outpatient in Connecticut, 13 percent were outpatient in Maryland, and 22 percent were outpatient in Colorado. In comparison, LUMPs were 78 to 88 percent outpatient, and by 1996, 43 to 72 percent of STMASs were outpatient. In 1996, women were 30 percent more likely to receive an outpatient CMAS in New York, 2.5 times more likely in Connecticut, 4.7 times more likely in Maryland, and 8.6 times more likely in Colorado compared to New Jersey. In addition, women with Medicare, Medicaid, or private commercial insurance were less likely to receive an outpatient CMAS compared to women with an HMO payer.


LUMP is an outpatient procedure, and STMAS is becoming primarily outpatient. CMAS, while still primarily inpatient, is increasingly outpatient in some states. Although clinical characteristics remain important, the state in which a woman receives care and whether she has an HMO payer are strong determinants of whether she receives an outpatient CMAS.

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