Should fee-for-service be for all guideline-advocated acute coronary syndrome (ACS) care? Observations from the Snapshot ACS study

Thomas G. Briffa, Christopher J. Hammett, David B. Cross, Andrew I. Macisaac, James M. Rankin, Neville Board, Bridie Carr, Karice K. Hyun, John French, David B. Brieger, Derek P. Chew

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The aim of the present study was to explore the association of health insurance status on the provision of guideline-advocated acute coronary syndrome (ACS) care in Australia. Methods Consecutive hospitalisations of suspected ACS from 14 to 27 May 2012 enrolled in the Snapshot study of Australian and New Zealand patients were evaluated. Descriptive and logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association of patient risk and insurance status with the receipt of care. Results In all, 3391 patients with suspected ACS from 247 hospitals (23 private) were enrolled in the present study. One-third of patients declared private insurance coverage; of these, 27.9% (304/1088) presented to private facilities. Compared with public patients, privately insured patients were more likely to undergo in-patient echocardiography and receive early angiography; furthermore, in those with a discharge diagnosis of ACS, there was a higher rate of revascularisation (P<0.001). Each of these attracts potential fee-for-service. In contrast, proportionately fewer privately insured ACS patients were discharged on selected guideline therapies and were referred to a secondary prevention program (P≤0.056), neither of which directly attracts a fee. Typically, as GRACE (the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events) risk score rose, so did the level of ACS care; however, propensity-adjusted analyses showed lower in-hospital adverse events among the insured group (odds ratio 0.68; 95% confidence interval 0.52-0.88; P≤0.004). Conclusion Fee-for-service reimbursement may explain differences in the provision of selected guideline-advocated components of ACS care between privately insured and public patients. What is known about this topic? There is variation in the pattern of acute coronary syndrome care across Australia. What does this paper add? Clear differences in the provision of selected proven therapies for acute coronary syndrome apply independent of whether a fee is charged or not. What are the implications for practitioners? Consideration should be given to the remuneration for proven therapies for acute coronary syndrome care in preference to those not supported by the evidence base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • clinical guidelines
  • health services
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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