Recent Trends in Medicare Utilization and Reimbursement for Lumbar Fusion Procedures: 2000–2019

Rohin Singh, M. Lane Moore, Hana Hallak, Nathan A. Shlobin, Nolan Brown, Julian Gendreau, Jenna Meyer, Jack M. Haglin, Mohamad Bydon, Oren N. Gottfried, Naresh P. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Lumbar fusions are commonly performed spinal procedures. Despite this, publicly available lumbar fusion procedural and monetary data are sparse. This study aimed to evaluate trends in utilization and reimbursement for Medicare patients from 2000–2019. Methods: Medicare National Summary Data Files were used. Data were collected for true physician reimbursements and procedural rates for posterolateral fusion, anterior lumbar interbody fusion, posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), and combined PLIF and posterolateral fusion from 2000–2019. Reimbursement was adjusted to inflation utilizing the 2019 Consumer Price Index. Results: From 2000–2019, 1,266,942 lumbar fusion procedures were billed to Medicare Part B. Annual number of lumbar interbody fusion procedures increased by 57,740 procedures (+95%) from 61,017 in 2000 to 118,757 in 2019. This change in annual volume varied by procedure type, with posterolateral fusion increasing from 24,873 procedures in 2000 to 45,665 procedures in 2019 (+20,792, +83.59%), anterior lumbar interbody fusion increasing from 4227 in 2000 to 29,285 procedures in 2019 (+25,058, 592.81%), PLIF increasing from 5579 procedures in 2000 to 5628 procedures in 2019 (+49, +0.88%), and combined PLIF and posterolateral fusion increasing from 26,338 procedures in 2012 to 38,179 procedures in 2019 (+11,841, +44.96%). The mean inflation-adjusted reimbursement decreased for posterolateral fusion from $1662.96 to $1245.85 (−$417.11, −25.08%), anterior lumbar interbody fusion from $1159.45 to $750.33 (−$409.12, −35.29%), PLIF from $1225.02 to $1223.72 (−$1.3, −0.11%), and combined PLIF and posterolateral fusion from $1541.59 per procedure in 2012 to $1467.08 per procedure in 2019. Conclusions: Lumbar fusions have increased in the last 2 decades, although reimbursement for all procedures has decreased. Knowledge of these trends is important to ensure adequate resource allocation to surgeons as treating lumbar pathologies becomes more common among the aging Medicare population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e191-e196
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Volume165
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Lumbar fusion
  • Medicare
  • Reimbursement
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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