Does Physician Reimbursement Correlate to Risk in Orthopaedic Trauma?


This study investigated whether current Medicare reimbursements for orthopaedic trauma procedures correlate with complications. A total of 18,510 patients representing 33 orthopaedic trauma procedures from 2005 to 2011 were studied. Adverse events and Medicare payments for each orthopaedic trauma procedure were collected. Linear regressions determined correlations between complications and Medicare payments for orthopaedic trauma procedures. A weak correlation between Medicare payments and complications was found for all procedures (r = .399, p = .021). A 1.0% increase in complications was associated with a payment increase of only $100. There were no correlations between complications and reimbursements for upper extremity (p = .878) and lower extremity (p =.713) procedures. A strong correlation (r = .808, p = .015) existed for hip and pelvic fractures, but a 1.1% increase in hip and pelvic complications correlated with only an increase of $100 in reimbursements. This study is the first to show that Medicare payments are not strongly correlated with complications, therefore demonstrating the potential risks of a bundled payment system for orthopaedic trauma surgeons. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 26(1):48–53, 2017)
Key words: bundled payment, Medicare, reimbursement, risk

SKU: JSOA-2017-26-1-S8 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Vasanth Sathiyakumar, BA; Rachel V. Thakore, BS; Cesar S. Molina, MD; William T. Obremskey, MD, MMHC, MPH; and Manish K. Sethi, MD