Spinal fusion at physician-owned hospitals vs. non-POHs: 4 key findings

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A new study published in The Spine Journal examines outcomes from posterior lumbar fusions at a physician-owned hospital compared with a non-physician-owned hospital. 


The researchers gathered data on 90-day costs and outcomes for 231,769 patients who underwent PLF at one to three levels from 2007 to 2014. All the data came from Medicare claims. There were 2.9 percent of the patients who underwent surgery at a physician-owned hospital; the remaining 97.1 percent had surgery at a non-physician-owned hospital.

Study authors found:

1. The physician-owned hospital procedures were associated with a lower risk for thromboembolic complications, urinary tract infections and renal complications.

2. Charges were lower for patients at the physician-owned hospitals than other hospitals; inpatient charges were $10,218 less on average while 90-day charges were $9,780 lower at physician-owned hospitals. The average 90-day costs were $2,324 lower for patients at physician-owned hospitals.

3. There weren't significant differences between the two groups in 90-day wound, cardiac, pulmonary or septic complications. All-cause emergency department visits, readmissions and revision surgeries were also similar between the two groups.

4. Study authors concluded procedures at physician-owned hospitals had similar outcomes and risk to PLF surgery at non-physician-owned hospitals during the 90-day episode of care, while lowering the cost. "The findings call on the need for revaluation / reconsideration of the ACA's restriction on the expansion of these physician-owned hospitals," they concluded.

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