How healthcare will stay the same 10 years on — 6 spine surgeons discuss

Written by Anuja Vaidya | April 19, 2018 | Print  |

Six spine surgeons weigh in on what they believe will stay the same in healthcare over the next decade.

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 some key trends in pain management for spine surgeons to note?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, April 25, at 5 p.m. CST.

Question: What will remain the same in the healthcare industry in the next 5 to 10 years?

Christian Zimmerman, MD. Spinal Neurosurgeon at Saint Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute (Boise, Idaho): To better answer this question, an overlapping retrospective/prospective approach may suffice. Five years ago, the ill effects of legislation were taking a foothold, with higher premiums and lower reimbursements punctuating the delivery of healthcare. Current insurance oversights and regulations tether patient care and sadly, I see no loosening of these restrictions; the reason being, the cost containment strategies transcribed by insurers is proportional to care delivery and treatment approvals, especially in complete spinal practices. The premise and realities of DRG bundling is more prevalent in all surgical specialties and will continue in the foreseeable future.

Prospectively, the predetermined Medicare model of surgical treatments and reimbursement (as adopted by Massachusetts and Maryland) will also become more widespread and accepted as individual states clamor to control their burgeoning Medicaid populations.

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD. Founder of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Confusion. Without a doubt patients will not understand their rights, how to obtain answers regarding their coverage or how to appeal decisions made. The system will remain opaque.

Payam Farjoodi, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center (Fountain Valley, Calif.): Patients! As our population is aging, the degenerative conditions which we mostly commonly treat will continue to need our services. What resources we have and how those resources get allocated to treat these patients will evolve.

Vladimir Sinkov, MD. Spine Surgeon at New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (Nashua): The drive towards newer technologies and innovative treatments will continue. This will result in more effective and less invasive treatments. The financial pressures will drive those new technologies to also be cost effective.

Alden Milam, MD. Spine Surgeon at OrthoCarolina (Charlotte, N.C.): Doctor-patient relationships.

Medhat Mikhael, MD. Pain Management Specialist and Medical Director of the Non-operative Program at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center (Fountain Valley, Calif.): The monopoly of the insurance companies, and the continuation of limiting access to therapy until the market presents major competition.

More articles on spine:
8 things for spine surgeons to know for Thursday — April 19, 2018
The top 15 highest-paying jobs in healthcare — neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons lead the pack
Dr. Venkat Ganapathy named associate editor of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery

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