4 key points on cost variation in spinal fusion for elderly Medicare patients

Written by Laura Dyrda | August 25, 2017 | Print  |

A new study published in Spine examines cost variation for anterior cervical fusions for the elderly Medicare population.


The study authors examined records from the PearlDiver database and included information for patients 65 to 85 years old who underwent primary ACF at one or two levels. There were 21,853 patients included in the study.


Study authors found:


1. Average reimbursement for the cohort was $13,648.


2. Factors increasing spinal fusion costs include:


• Advanced age ($1,083)
• Myelopathy diagnosis ($2,150)
• Diabetes mellitus ($1,019)
• Obesity ($651)
• Congestive heart failure ($1,523)
• Chronic kidney disease ($1,962)
• Chronic pulmonary disease ($489)


3. Several factors studied were not associated with increased cost, including the patient's sex, smoking history and prior liver disease.


4. Multiple comorbidities could contribute to increased costs, but there is still uncertainty regarding their relative costs, according to the study authors. "These data are informative to practicing physicians as healthcare as a whole transitions to a more value-based approach," concluded the study authors.


More articles on spine surgery:

The next 5 years in the spinal fusion arena
6 key findings on spinal epidural hematoma
4 key points on aspirin continuation during spinal surgery

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