5 key findings on cost, length of stay for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing cervical spinal fusion

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 11, 2017 | Print  |

A new study published in Spine examines the outcomes and length of stay for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing cervical spinal fusion.


Study authors examined the 2013 and 2014 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review file, which included 86,265 beneficiaries who underwent cervical spinal fusion at two or three levels. Study authors found:


1. Of all Medicare beneficiaries examined in the study, 6.2 percent reported at least one adverse event.


2. The patients who experienced complications reported consuming significantly more hospital resources — totaling around $28,638 per beneficiary.


3. Patients who had complications reported staying at the hospital for an average of 9.1 days longer than patients without complications.


4. The incremental cost of treating adverse events, after adjusting for patient demographics and comorbidities, was $10,100 for a dural tear to $42,358 for an infection.


5. Study authors found adverse events frequently occur among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing two and three level spinal fusions, and recommended shared decision making to clearly provide the risks for patients considering undergoing these procedures.


"Investment in activities that have been shown to reduce specific adverse events is warranted and this study may allow health systems to prioritize performance improvement areas," concluded the study authors.


More articles on spine surgery:
4 key notes on factors affecting where spinal fusion patients are discharged
A new method to predict return-to-work after lumbar spine surgery—5 key notes
The devaluing of spine surgery—Dr. William Watters on 3 new trends

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