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Activity-Based Funding of Hospitals and Its Impact on Mortality, Readmission, Discharge Destination, Severity of Illness, and Volume of Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-10-27
Abstract: 

Background

Activity-based funding (ABF) of hospitals is a policy intervention intended to re-shape incentives across health systems through the use of diagnosis-related groups. Many countries are adopting or actively promoting ABF. We assessed the effect of ABF on key measures potentially affecting patients and health care systems: mortality (acute and post-acute care); readmission rates; discharge rate to post-acute care following hospitalization; severity of illness; volume of care.

Methods

We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide evidence produced since 1980. We included all studies reporting original quantitative data comparing the impact of ABF versus alternative funding systems in acute care settings, regardless of language. We searched 9 electronic databases (OVID MEDLINE, EMBASE, OVID Healthstar, CINAHL, Cochrane CENTRAL, Health Technology Assessment, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Business Source), hand-searched reference lists, and consulted with experts. Paired reviewers independently screened for eligibility, abstracted data, and assessed study credibility according to a pre-defined scoring system, resolving conflicts by discussion or adjudication.

Results

Of 16,565 unique citations, 50 US studies and 15 studies from 9 other countries proved eligible (i.e. Australia, Austria, England, Germany, Israel, Italy, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland). We found consistent and robust differences between ABF and no-ABF in discharge to post-acute care, showing a 24% increase with ABF (pooled relative risk = 1.24, 95% CI 1.18–1.31). Results also suggested a possible increase in readmission with ABF, and an apparent increase in severity of illness, perhaps reflecting differences in diagnostic coding. Although we found no consistent, systematic differences in mortality rates and volume of care, results varied widely across studies, some suggesting appreciable benefits from ABF, and others suggesting deleterious consequences.

Conclusions

Transitioning to ABF is associated with important policy- and clinically-relevant changes. Evidence suggests substantial increases in admissions to post-acute care following hospitalization, with implications for system capacity and equitable access to care. High variability in results of other outcomes leaves the impact in particular settings uncertain, and may not allow a jurisdiction to predict if ABF would be harmless. Decision-makers considering ABF should plan for likely increases in post-acute care admissions, and be aware of the large uncertainty around impacts on other critical outcomes.

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Article
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Mortality in Patients with HIV-1 Infection Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa, Europe, or North America: A Collaborative Analysis of Prospective Studies

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-09-09
Abstract: 

Background

High early mortality in patients with HIV-1 starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to Europe and North America, is well documented. Longer-term comparisons between settings have been limited by poor ascertainment of mortality in high burden African settings. This study aimed to compare mortality up to four years on ART between South Africa, Europe, and North America.

Methods and Findings

Data from four South African cohorts in which patients lost to follow-up (LTF) could be linked to the national population register to determine vital status were combined with data from Europe and North America. Cumulative mortality, crude and adjusted (for characteristics at ART initiation) mortality rate ratios (relative to South Africa), and predicted mortality rates were described by region at 0–3, 3–6, 6–12, 12–24, and 24–48 months on ART for the period 2001–2010. Of the adults included (30,467 [South Africa], 29,727 [Europe], and 7,160 [North America]), 20,306 (67%), 9,961 (34%), and 824 (12%) were women. Patients began treatment with markedly more advanced disease in South Africa (median CD4 count 102, 213, and 172 cells/µl in South Africa, Europe, and North America, respectively). High early mortality after starting ART in South Africa occurred mainly in patients starting ART with CD4 count <50 cells/µl. Cumulative mortality at 4 years was 16.6%, 4.7%, and 15.3% in South Africa, Europe, and North America, respectively. Mortality was initially much lower in Europe and North America than South Africa, but the differences were reduced or reversed (North America) at longer durations on ART (adjusted rate ratios 0.46, 95% CI 0.37–0.58, and 1.62, 95% CI 1.27–2.05 between 24 and 48 months on ART comparing Europe and North America to South Africa). While bias due to under-ascertainment of mortality was minimised through death registry linkage, residual bias could still be present due to differing approaches to and frequency of linkage.

Conclusions

After accounting for under-ascertainment of mortality, with increasing duration on ART, the mortality rate on HIV treatment in South Africa declines to levels comparable to or below those described in participating North American cohorts, while substantially narrowing the differential with the European cohorts.

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Article
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Association between Childhood Physical Abuse, Unprotected Receptive Anal Intercourse and HIV Infection among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in Vancouver, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-06-25
Abstract: 

Introduction

The association between childhood sexual abuse and HIV risk among men who have sex with men (MSM) is well established. However, no studies have examined the potential impact of other forms of childhood maltreatment on HIV incidence in this population.

Methods

We explored the impact of child physical abuse (CPA) on HIV seroconversion in a cohort of gay/bisexual men aged 15 to 30 in Vancouver, Canada. Cox proportional hazard models were used, controlling for confounders.

Results

Among 287 participants, 211 (73.5%) reported experiencing CPA before the age of 17, and 42 (14.6%) reporting URAI in the past year. After a median of 6.6 years follow-up, 16 (5.8%) participants HIV-seroconverted. In multivariate analysis, CPA was significantly associated with HIV seroconversion (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 4.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.65–14.48), after controlling for potential confounders.

Conclusion

Our study uncovered a link between childhood physical violence and HIV incidence. Results highlight an urgent need for screening of young gay and bisexual men for histories of violence, and social and structural supports to prevent HIV transmission in this population.

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Article
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The ‘Stolen Generations' of Mothers and Daughters: Child Apprehension and Enhanced HIV Vulnerabilities for Sex Workers of Aboriginal Ancestry

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-06-13
Abstract: 

Objectives

The number of children in care of the state continues to grow in BC, Canada with a historical legacy of child apprehension among criminalized and marginalized populations, particularly women of Aboriginal ancestry and sex workers. However, there is a paucity of research investigating child apprehension experiences among marginalized mothers. The objective of the current analysis is to examine the prevalence and correlates of child apprehensions among female sex workers in Vancouver, Canada.

Methods

Analyses were drawn from the AESHA (An Evaluation of Sex Workers Health Access, 2010-present), a prospective cohort of street and off-street SWs, through outreach and semi-annual visits to the research office. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to examine correlates of child apprehension.

Results

Of a total of 510 SWs, 350 women who had given birth to at least one child were included in the analyses (median age = 37 yrs: IQR: 31–44 yrs). The prevalence of child apprehension among mothers was 38.3%, with 37.4% reporting having been apprehended themselves by child welfare services. In multivariable analysis, servicing clients in outdoor public spaces (versus formal sex work establishments or informal indoor settings) (adjusted odds ratio, (aOR) = 2.73; 95%CI 1.27–5.90), history of injecting drugs (aOR = 2.53; 95%CI 1.42–4.49), Aboriginal ancestry (aOR = 1.66; 95%CI 1.01–2.74) were associated with increased odds of child apprehension.

Discussion/Conclusions

Child apprehension rates are high, particularly among the most marginalized sex workers, including sex workers who use drugs and sex workers of Aboriginal ancestry. Structural reforms to child protection are urgently needed, that support family-based care address the historical legacy of colonization affecting Aboriginal peoples.

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Article
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A TRIP230-Retinoblastoma Protein Complex Regulates Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α-Mediated Transcription and Cancer Cell Invasion

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-06-11
Abstract: 

Localized hypoxia in solid tumors activates transcriptional programs that promote the metastatic transformation of cells. Like hypoxia-inducible hyper-vascularization, loss of the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) is a trait common to advanced stages of tumor progression in many metastatic cancers. However, no link between the role of Rb and hypoxia-driven metastatic processes has been established. We demonstrated that Rb is a key mediator of the hypoxic response mediated by HIF1α/β, the master regulator of the hypoxia response, and its essential co-activator, the thyroid hormone receptor/retinoblastoma-interacting protein (TRIP230). Furthermore, loss of Rb unmasks the full co-activation potential of TRIP230. Using small inhibitory RNA approaches in vivo, we established that Rb attenuates the normal physiological response to hypoxia by HIF1α. Notably, loss of Rb results in hypoxia-dependent biochemical changes that promote acquisition of an invasive phenotype in MCF7 breast cancer cells. In addition, Rb is present in HIF1α-ARNT/HIF1β transcriptional complexes associated with TRIP230 as determined by co-immuno-precipitation, GST-pull-down and ChIP assays. These results demonstrate that Rb is a negative modulator of hypoxia-regulated transcription by virtue of its direct effects on the HIF1 complex. This work represents the first link between the functional ablation of Rb in tumor cells and HIF1α-dependent transcriptional activation and invasion.

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Article
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Epigenetic Characterization of the Growth Hormone Gene Identifies SmcHD1 as a Regulator of Autosomal Gene Clusters

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-05-12
Abstract: 

Regulatory elements for the mouse growth hormone (GH) gene are located distally in a putative locus control region (LCR) in addition to key elements in the promoter proximal region. The role of promoter DNA methylation for GH gene regulation is not well understood. Pit-1 is a POU transcription factor required for normal pituitary development and obligatory for GH gene expression. In mammals, Pit-1 mutations eliminate GH production resulting in a dwarf phenotype. In this study, dwarf mice illustrated that Pit-1 function was obligatory for GH promoter hypomethylation. By monitoring promoter methylation levels during developmental GH expression we found that the GH promoter became hypomethylated coincident with gene expression. We identified a promoter differentially methylated region (DMR) that was used to characterize a methylation-dependent DNA binding activity. Upon DNA affinity purification using the DMR and nuclear extracts, we identified structural maintenance of chromosomes hinge domain containing -1 (SmcHD1). To better understand the role of SmcHD1 in genome-wide gene expression, we performed microarray analysis and compared changes in gene expression upon reduced levels of SmcHD1 in human cells. Knock-down of SmcHD1 in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells revealed a disproportionate number of up-regulated genes were located on the X-chromosome, but also suggested regulation of genes on non-sex chromosomes. Among those, we identified several genes located in the protocadherin β cluster. In addition, we found that imprinted genes in the H19/Igf2 cluster associated with Beckwith-Wiedemann and Silver-Russell syndromes (BWS & SRS) were dysregulated. For the first time using human cells, we showed that SmcHD1 is an important regulator of imprinted and clustered genes.

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Genotypic and Functional Impact of HIV-1 Adaptation to Its Host Population during the North American Epidemic

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-24
Abstract: 

HLA-restricted immune escape mutations that persist following HIV transmission could gradually spread through the viral population, thereby compromising host antiviral immunity as the epidemic progresses. To assess the extent and phenotypic impact of this phenomenon in an immunogenetically diverse population, we genotypically and functionally compared linked HLA and HIV (Gag/Nef) sequences from 358 historic (1979–1989) and 382 modern (2000–2011) specimens from four key cities in the North American epidemic (New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver). Inferred HIV phylogenies were star-like, with approximately two-fold greater mean pairwise distances in modern versus historic sequences. The reconstructed epidemic ancestral (founder) HIV sequence was essentially identical to the North American subtype B consensus. Consistent with gradual diversification of a “consensus-like” founder virus, the median “background” frequencies of individual HLA-associated polymorphisms in HIV (in individuals lacking the restricting HLA[s]) were ~2-fold higher in modern versus historic HIV sequences, though these remained notably low overall (e.g. in Gag, medians were 3.7% in the 2000s versus 2.0% in the 1980s). HIV polymorphisms exhibiting the greatest relative spread were those restricted by protective HLAs. Despite these increases, when HIV sequences were analyzed as a whole, their total average burden of polymorphisms that were “pre-adapted” to the average host HLA profile was only ~2% greater in modern versus historic eras. Furthermore, HLA-associated polymorphisms identified in historic HIV sequences were consistent with those detectable today, with none identified that could explain the few HIV codons where the inferred epidemic ancestor differed from the modern consensus. Results are therefore consistent with slow HIV adaptation to HLA, but at a rate unlikely to yield imminent negative implications for cellular immunity, at least in North America. Intriguingly, temporal changes in protein activity of patient-derived Nef (though not Gag) sequences were observed, suggesting functional implications of population-level HIV evolution on certain viral proteins.

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Article
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Gender Inequities in Quality of Care among HIV-Positive Individuals Initiating Antiretroviral Treatment in British Columbia, Canada (2000–2010)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-18
Abstract: 

Objectives

We measured gender differences in “Quality of Care” (QOC) during the first year after initiation of antiretroviral therapy and investigated factors associated with poorer QOC among women.

Design

QOC was estimated using the Programmatic Compliance Score (PCS), a validated metric associated with all-cause mortality, among all patients (≥19 years) who initiated ART in British Columbia, Canada (2000–2010).

Methods

PCS includes six indicators of non-compliance with treatment initiation guidelines at baseline (not having drug resistance testing before treatment; starting on a non-recommended regimen; starting therapy at CD4<200 cells/mm3) and during first-year follow-up (receiving <3 CD4 tests; receiving <3 viral load tests; not achieving viral suppression within six months). Summary scores range from 0–6; higher scores indicate poorer QOC. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression was used to measure if female gender was an independent predictor of poorer QOC and factors associated with poorer QOC among women.

Results

QOC was determined for 3,642 patients (20% women). At baseline: 42% of women (34% men) did not have resistance testing before treatment; 17% of women (9% men) started on a non-recommended regimen (all p<0.001). At follow-up: 17% of women (11% men) received <3 CD4; 17% of women (11% men) received <3 VL; 50% of women (41% men) did not achieve viral suppression (all p<0.001). Overall, QOC was better among men (mean PSC = 1.54 (SD = 1.30)) compared with women (mean = 1.89 (SD = 1.37); p<0.001). In the multivariable model, female gender (AOR = 1.16 [95% CI: 0.99–1.35]; p = 0.062) remained associated with poorer QOC after covariate adjustment. Among women, those with injection drug use history, of Aboriginal ancestry, from Vancouver Island, and who initiated ART in earlier years were more likely to have poorer QOC.

Conclusions

Poorer QOC among women, especially from marginalized communities, demands that barriers undermining women's access to high-quality care be addressed to improve treatment and health for women with HIV.

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Examining the Impact of Case Management in Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court: A Quasi-Experimental Design

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-05
Abstract: 

Background

Problem solving courts (PSC) have been implemented internationally, with a common objective to prevent reoffending by addressing criminogenic needs and strengthening social determinants of health. There has been no empirical research on the effectiveness of community courts, which are a form of PSC designed to harness community resources and inter-disciplinary expertise to reduce recidivism in a geographic catchment area.

Method

We used the propensity score matching method to examine the effectiveness of Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court (DCC). We focused on the subset of DCC participants who were identified as having the highest criminogenic risk and were assigned to a case management team (CMT). A comparison group was derived using one-to-one matching on a large array variables including static and dynamic criminogenic factors, geography, and time. Reductions in offences (one year pre minus one year post) were compared between CMT and comparison groups.

Results

Compared to other DCC offenders, those triaged to CMT (9.5% of the DCC population) had significantly higher levels of healthcare, social service use, and justice system involvement over the ten years prior to the index offence. Compared to matched offenders who received traditional court outcomes, those assigned to CMT (n = 249) exhibited significantly greater reductions in overall offending (p<0.001), primarily comprised of significant reductions in property offences (p<0.001).

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that CMT achieved significantly greater reductions in recidivism than traditional court among offenders with complex needs and high numbers of previous offences. Limitations of this research include a non-experimental design and one year follow up. Strengths include a robust matching process and extensive client level data spanning multiple sectors. Further research is needed to replicate the observed outcomes, to investigate the extension of community courts to settings with divergent offender needs and local resources, and to estimate potential cost avoidance attributable to this intervention.

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Article
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The Association between Acculturation and Dietary Patterns of South Asian Immigrants

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-02-18
Abstract: 

Dietary acculturation, specifically the adoption of western dietary habits, may result in adverse health effects such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the role of acculturation in dietary patterns as well as awareness and knowledge of healthy nutrition among South Asian immigrants. This is an especially important population to target as South Asians have higher prevalence rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which may be magnified with immigration. The current investigation is a sub-study of the Multi-Cultural Community Health Assessment Trial (M-CHAT). There were 207 participants of South Asian origin included in the initial study, 129 were born outside of Canada and had immigrated after the age of 18. The length of residence in Canada was used as a marker for acculturation. A questionnaire addressing perceived changes in dietary patterns, food preparation, and nutrition knowledge and awareness since immigration was used to assess dietary practices. The association between length of residence and variables related to perceived changes in dietary patterns was explored with Spearman correlation and significant associations were subsequently analyzed with ordinal logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, education and body mass index. South Asian immigrants in Canada reported a variety of positive dietary practices, including an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and an improvement in food preparation (including an increase in grilling and a decrease in deep frying when cooking). However, there was a reported increase in the consumption of convenience foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat and in dining out. South Asian immigrants in Canada reported a variety of positive dietary practices including an improvement in food preparation. Future health promotion strategies should encourage cultural sensitivity in efforts to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage, convenience foods and to encourage eating at home rather than dining out.

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