Outpatient spine cases grew 193% in Medicare patients over 10 years


Outpatient spine procedures grew among Medicare patients between 2010 and 2021, with significant yearly growth at ASCs, according to a study in the March 2024 issue of the North American Spine Society Journal.

Six things to know:

1. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of Medicare billing database information for spine procedures between 2010 to 2021 to measure changes in outpatient volume in the Medicare population.

2. The total number of outpatient spine procedures rose about 193% from 2010 to 2021. 

3. The compound annual growth rate for outpatient cases per year was 9.9% for hospital outpatient departments and 15.7% for ASCs. 

4. During this time period, the ASC list grew from 12 procedures to 58 procedures.

5. In 2021, the highest-volume ASC spine code was HCPCS 63047 (lumbar laminectomy, facetectomy and foraminotomy).

6. Researchers concluded that the findings show increased utilization of outpatient centers for Medicare spine patients. HOPDs were more utilized but "the ongoing additions of spine procedures to the ASC covered procedures list may shift this balance," the study said.

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