Healthcare's next battleground: 6 spine surgeons discuss new challenges after health reform

Written by Anuja Vaidya | September 03, 2015 | Print  |

Here six spine surgeons discuss the next big battle facing spine surgeons in the changing healthcare landscape.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.

Next week's question: What are the most challenging non-patient activities facing spine surgeons today?  

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at by Wednesday, August 9, at 5 p.m. CST.


Question: Now that healthcare reform is well under way, what do you think will be the next big battlefront in healthcare?


William Taylor, Director, Spine Surgery, Vice Chairman, Division of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Diego: Surgical decision making is slowly being eroded by current regulations, case preferences and approvals. Equipment choices are being removed from the surgeon and placed into the hands of the administration.


Brian R. Gantwerker, MD, The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Reimbursement. Now that the infrastructure is in place, there will be new and complex ways for the coding and reimbursement to be linked and used as leverage to decrease how much doctors get paid.


Richard Kube, MD, Founder, CEO, Prairie Spine & Pain Institute, Peoria, Ill.: I think it will be handling the reimbursement and care rationing issues that are becoming more frequent since reform occurred.


Kenneth Pettine, MD, Founder, The Spine Institute, Johnstown, Colo.: I think that patients' design treatment beyond generic will require cash payments and the development of a two-tiered system of delivering high-quality medical care.


Kern Singh, MD, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, Chicago: There is a big difference between what should be done and what will be done. We all know what will be done, which is decreasing reimbursement to physicians. Rather what should be done is tort reform on a national level eliminating frivolous medical malpractice claims. Yet, our elected politicians never even mentioned this as a possibility in the recent approval of the affordable healthcare act.


Neel Anand, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery, Director, Spine Trauma, Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, Los Angeles: Are we going to be reimbursed for spine surgery and is it going to go decrease even more is an important question for spine surgeons.


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