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Michigan heart surgery outcomes improved after medicaid expansion, study finds

Expanding Medicaid coverage is associated with better outcomes for heart surgery patients, according to a study led by University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers with participation by University of Michigan researchers.

Researchers examined outcomes from heart surgery quality databases in Michigan, which expanded Medicaid under the Healthy Michigan Plan, and Virginia, which did not. Outcomes in both states were reviewed over the same three-year period – the 18 months before Michigan expanded Medicaid in spring 2014, and the first 18 months after Michigan expanded Medicaid. The results are published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

In Virginia, there were no significant changes in outcomes between the two 18-month periods. But among Michigan Medicaid patients, the risk-adjusted likelihood of a serious postoperative complication dropped by 30 percent after Medicaid expansion. Reducing complications may also help reduce the overall costs of care, the researchers said.

Co-authors from the Frankel Cardiovascular Center include CVC director and cardiac surgeon Richard Prager, M.D., and Donald Likosky, Ph.D., section head for health services research and quality.

Read more from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation here.

 

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