USPI total joints spiked 15% last year


Dallas-based United Surgical Partners International reported joint replacement procedures at its surgery centers jumped 20% year over year in the fourth quarter, and were up 15% for the full year.

"Total joint surgeries grew significantly in the fourth quarter, even above what we were running during the course of the year," said Saum Sutaria, MD, chair and CEO of Tenet Healthcare, which owns USPI, in a quarterly earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "We feel very good about that going forward."

USPI's strategy in recent years has focused on high acuity cases like orthopedics and spine, and the company added 30 ASCs to its system last year. But another factor played into their steep joint replacement growth: total shoulder replacements. CMS approved total shoulder replacements for the ASC-payable list beginning this year, and private insurers have taken notice.

USPI was able to capitalize on their existing shoulder surgery program with the reimbursement update.

"We have had for over a year now, an innovative program that has helped us grow and develop all the protocols for our ASCs, where we do orthopedics, to add shoulder surgery," said Dr. Sutaria. "The numbers are not as big as hips and knees, for example, but we're prepared to do that."

Healthcare is evolving quickly to the outpatient setting, and for USPI's legacy centers focus on creating additional capacity for high acuity cases, which means some low acuity cases are being transitioned into office-based settings.

"We are still doing some work to move slightly higher volume, very, very low acuity work out of our ASCs into other settings in order to make room for higher acuity. We're doing it in a more measured way than we perhaps did in 2022, but we're still doing it," said Dr. Sutaria. "And so that also presents upside if we're successful in refreshing those partnerships. But we think that will serve us well for the longer term."

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