METHODS: Using fiscal year (FY) 2015–2017 data derived from the VHA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), we determined the overall national and facility-level rates and associated costs of receiving any of 8 common LVTs in the 30 days before CTR in ASA physical status (PS) I-II patients. We also examined the patient, procedure, and facility factors associated with receiving ≥1 LVT with mixed-effects logistic regression and the number of tests received with mixed-effects negative binomial regression.
RESULTS: From FY15–17, 10,000 ASA class I-II patients received a CTR by 699 surgeons in 125 VHA facilities. Overall, 47.0% of patients had a CTR that was preceded by ≥1 LVT, with substantial variability between facilities (range = 0%–100%; interquartile range = 36.3%), representing $339,717 in costs. Older age and female sex were associated with higher odds of receiving ≥1 LVT. Local versus other modes of anesthesia were associated with lower odds of receiving ≥1 LVT. Several facilities experienced large (>25%) increases or decreases from FY15 to FY17 in the proportion of patients receiving ≥1 LVT.
CONCLUSIONS: Counter to guidance from the ASA, we found that almost half of CTRs performed on ASA class I-II VHA patients were preceded by ≥1 LVT. Although the total cost of these tests is relatively modest, CTR is just one of many low-risk procedures (eg, trigger finger release, cataract surgery) that may involve similar preoperative testing practices. These results will inform site selection for qualitative investigation of the drivers of low-value testing and the development of interventions to improve preoperative testing practice, especially in locations where rates of LVT are high.