The Impact of Certificate of Need Status on the Utilization and Reimbursement of Open and Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release


A certificate of need (CON) permits a healthcare organization to build new facilities only if significant medical needs exist. Many states have implemented CON programs to prevent procedure overutilization and price inflation. We hypothesized that there are no differences in reimbursement or utilization for open and endoscopic carpal tunnel release (CTR) when comparing states with and without CON programs. We queried a private-payer database to identify open and endoscopic CTRs performed between 2007 and 2015. In total, 82,689 CTRs were identified: 70,160 open, 12,529 endoscopic. Reimbursement increased for open procedures (compound annual growth rate [CAGR] 1.0% CON, 1.4% non-CON) but only marginally increased or decreased in the endoscopic group (CAGR -0.8% CON, 0.2% non-CON). Utilization increased across all settings, and was highest in the endoscopic CON group (CAGR 17.9%). Least growth was seen in the open non-CON group (CAGR 10.0%). Overall, CON programs may not actually decrease CTR spending or utilization. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 30(2):090–092, 2021)

Key words: certificate of need, carpal tunnel release, open, endoscopic, utilization, reimbursement

Sahitya K. Denduluri, MD; Allison Roe, MD; Abiram Bala, MD; Nathaniel Fogel, MD; Chason Ziino, MD; and Robin N. Kamal, MD