To evaluate charges, expenses, reimbursement, and hospital margins with noninstrumented posterolateral fusion in situ (PLF), posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws (PPS), and PPS with interbody device (PLIF) in degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis.
A retrospective chart review was performed from 2010 to 2014 based on ICD-9 diagnoses of degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis in patients undergoing single-level fusions. All charges, expenses, reimbursement, and margins were obtained through financial auditing. A multivariate linear regression model was used to compare demographics, charges, etc. A 1-way analysis of variance with Tukey post hoc analysis was used to analyze reimbursements and margins based upon insurances.
Two hundred thirty-three patients met inclusion criteria. The overall charges and expenses for PLF were significantly less compared to both types of instrumented fusions (P < .0001). Medicare and private insurance were the most common insurance types; Medicare and private insurance mean reimbursements for PLF were $36,903 and $47,086, respectively; for PPS, $37,450 and $53,851, and for PLIF $40,171 and $51,640. Hospital margins for PPS and PLIF in Medicaid patients were negative (-$3,702 and -$6,456). Hospital margins were largest for both worker's compensation and private insurance patients in all fusion groups. Hospital margins with Medicare for PLF, PPS, and PLIF were $24,347, $19,205, and $23,046, respectively. Hospital margins for private insurance for PLF, PPS, and PLIF were $37,569, $36,834, and $33,134, respectively.
As more instrumentation is used, the more it costs both the hospital and the insurance companies; hospital margins did not increase correspondingly.
Improved understanding of related costs and margins associated with lumbar fusions to help transition to more cost effective spine centers.