HIV/AIDS length of stay in Portugal under financial constraints: a longitudinal study for public hospitals, 2009-2014

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The global financial crisis and the economic and financial adjustment programme (EFAP) forced the Portuguese government to adopt austerity measures, which also included the health sector. The aim of this study was to analyse factors associated with HIV/AIDS patients' length of stay (LOS) among Portuguese hospitals, and the potential impact of the EFAP measures on hospitalizations among HIV/AIDS patients.
Data used in this analysis were collected from the Portuguese database of Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG). We considered only discharges classified under MCD 24 created for patients with HIV infection. A total of 20,361 hospitalizations occurring between 2009 and 2014 in 41 public hospitals were included in the analysis. The outcome was the number of days between hospital admission and discharge dates (LOS). Hierarchical Poisson regression model with random effects was used to analyse the relation between LOS and patient, treatment and setting characteristics. To more effectively analyse the impact of the EFAP implementation on HIV/AIDS hospitalizations, yearly variables, as well as a variable measuring hospitals' financial situation (current ratio) was included.
For the 5% level, having HIV/AIDS as the principal diagnosis, the number of secondary diagnoses, the number of procedures, and having tuberculosis have a positive impact in HIV/AIDS LOS; while being female, urgent admission, in-hospital mortality, pneumocystis pneumonia, hepatitis C, and hospital's current ratio contribute to the decrease of LOS. Additionally, LOS between 2010 and 2014 was significantly shorter in comparison to 2009. Differences in LOS across hospitals are significant after controlling for these variables.
Following the EFAP, a number of cost-containment measures in the health sector were implemented. Results from our analysis suggest that the implementation of these measures contributed to a significant decrease is LOS among HIV/AIDS patients in Portuguese hospitals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number303
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2019


  • Austerity
  • Hospitals
  • LOS
  • Portugal


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