A study published online in the journal Orthopedics examines trends in Medicare reimbursement for orthopaedic procedures. The researchers reviewed the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Current Procedural Terminology code values for common orthopaedic and nonorthopaedic procedures from 2000 to 2016, and adjusted all prices to 2016-dollar values. 

They found that over the course of the study period, annual reimbursements decreased for all orthopaedic procedures examined except orthopaedic implant removal. Orthopaedic procedures with the greatest mean annual decreases in reimbursement were shoulder arthroscopy/decompression, total knee arthroplasty, and total hip arthroplasty. Orthopaedic procedures with the least annual reimbursement decreases were carpal tunnel release and ankle fracture repair. In addition, the researchers found that the rate of change in Medicare procedure reimbursement varied between orthopaedic specialties, with trauma seeing the smallest decrease in annual change compared with spine, sports, and hand. Finally, they note that annual reimbursement decreased at a significantly greater rate for adult reconstruction than for any other orthopaedic specialty. Learn more...

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