The Impact of COVID-19 on Surgical Volume and Productivity at an Academic Orthopaedic Surgery Department


COVID-19 pandemic rapidly progressed, resulting in temporary cessation of elective surgery in the U.S. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on surgical volume, charges, work relative value units (WRVUs), and net receipts at an academic orthopaedic surgery department. Volume of cases per month decreased from 745 cases in February to 173 cases in April, with a 75% decrease in charges and a 73% decrease in WRVUs. The largest decreases in productivity were in Sports (92% decrease in charges and WRVUs), Pediatrics (88% decrease in charges, 87% decrease in WRVUs), and Joints (81% decrease in charges, 78% decrease in WRVUs). Oncology was least impacted (27% decrease in charges, 20% decrease in WRVUs). Recovery after shutdown was rapid, with charges and WRVUs returning to pre-COVID levels by June. Productivity of the Sports, Pediatrics and Joints were most impacted, while Oncology, Hand, and Trauma were least impacted. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 31(4):226–229, 2022)

Key words: COVID, WRVU, charges, cancellation, coronavirus, academic

SKU: JSOA-2022-31-4-2 Categories: , Tags: , , , , ,

Jay M. Levin, MD, MBA; Elshaday Belay, MD; Craig Akoh, MD; and Oke Anakwenze, MD, MBA