Do spine surgeon practice patterns affect readmission rates? 5 findings

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine examined the variation between spine surgeons for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing lumbar spinal surgery for degenerative conditions.


The authors examined 39,884 patients who underwent 3,987 spine surgeries from 2003 to 2007. Here are five key findings from the analysis:

1. Average readmission rate was 7.2 percent and average length of stay was 3.1 days across all Medicare patients.

2. Among the surgeons studied, one had readmission rates significantly below the average rate while five surgeons had readmissions significantly above the average rate.

3. There were 288 surgeons, or 7.2 percent, who reported significantly lower than average length of stay, as well as 397 surgeons—10 percent—that reported a length of stay significantly above average.

4. Hospital characteristics weren't associated with readmission rates, but for-profit length of stay was associated with the hospital's for-profit status and size, according to the report.

5. The study authors concluded surgeon practice patterns and hospitals didn't affect readmission risk. "Strategies to reduce readmissions would be better targeted at factors other than providers," they concluded.

More articles on spine surgery:
14 spine, neurosurgeon moves in August
Lumbar spine surgery performed earlier in the week linked to shorter length of stay
10 spine surgeon leaders to know

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