Background: Cholelithiasis (CL) represents a major health burden in Chile, with rates of cholecystectomy (CCT) of ~40.000 per year. The explicit health care guaranties (GES) program includes prioritized CCT for CL carriers between 35 and 49 years of age. Aim: To assess the access and opportunity of CCT in a screening program of CL in Family Medicine Centers, according to the age of the patients. Material and methods: A systematic ultrasound screening program of CL was developed in Family Medicine Centers ANCORA-UC between March 2009 and March 2013 during which 1.450 individuals were assessed, (80% women) and 281 were identified as having CL (19.4%). After a minimum follow up interval of six months, patients with CL were contacted and surveyed by phone. They were categorized as being beneficiaries of the GES program (those aged between 35 to 49 years) or not (those aged <35 o >49 years). Results: Two hundred thirteen patients were contacted (76%), 81 beneficiaries of the program and 132 non-beneficiaries. The attending physician indicated CCT to 191 patients (89.6%). During a mean follow-up time of 641 days/person, 100 patients had CCT, 11% of which were emergency interventions due to complications. A greater proportion of program beneficiaries than non-beneficiaries had and elective CCT (74 and 21% respectively). The waiting interval for elective CCT was longer in non-beneficiaries compared with beneficiaries (340±247 and 229±201days respectively). Only 46% of the elective CCT in GES patients were done within deadlines determined by the program (?150 days). Conclusions: The age of patients at the moment of CL diagnosis conditions the access and opportunity to CCT. Beneficiaries of the explicit health care guaranties program have higher rates of cholecystectomy with less waiting time.
Access, and Evaluation; Cholelithiasis; Cholecystectomy; Health Care Quality