Patients From Medically Underserved Areas Are at Increased Risk for Nonhome Discharge and Emergency Department Return After Total Joint Arthroplasty

Published:January 03, 2022DOI:



      Maryland Health Enterprise Zones (MHEZs) were introduced in 2012 and encompass underserved areas and those with reduced access to healthcare providers. Across the United States many underserved and minority populations experience poorer total joint arthroplasty (TJA) outcomes seemingly because they reside in underserved areas. The purpose of this study is to identify and quantify the relationship between living in an MHEZ and TJA outcomes.


      Retrospective review of 11,451 patients undergoing primary TJA at a single institution from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2020 was conducted. Patients were classified based on whether they resided in an MHEZ. Statistical analyses were used to compare outcomes for TJA patients who live in MHEZ and those who do not.


      Of the 11,451 patients, 1057 patients lived in MHEZ and 10,394 patients did not. After risk adjustment, patients who live in an MHEZ were more likely to return to the emergency department within 90 days postoperatively and were less likely to be discharged home than those patients who do not live in an MHEZ.


      Total joint arthroplasty patients residing in MHEZ appear to present with poorer overall health as measured by increased American Society of Anesthesiologists and Hierarchical Condition Categories scores, and they are less likely to be discharged home and more likely to return to the emergency department within 90 days. Several factors associated with these findings such as socioeconomic factors, household composition, housing type, disability, and transportation may be modifiable and should be targets of future population health initiatives.


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