Impact of case type, length of stay, institution type, and comorbidities on Medicare diagnosis-related group reimbursement for adult spinal deformity surgery.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to educate medical professionals about potential financial impacts of improper diagnosis-related group (DRG) coding in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. METHODS Medicare's Inpatient Prospective Payment System PC Pricer database was used to collect 2015 reimbursement data for ASD procedures from 12 hospitals. Case type, hospital type/location, number of operative levels, proper coding, length of stay, and complications/comorbidities (CCs) were analyzed for effects on reimbursement. DRGs were used to categorize cases into 3 types: 1) anterior or posterior only fusion, 2) anterior fusion with posterior percutaneous fixation with no dorsal fusion, and 3) combined anterior and posterior fixation and fusion. RESULTS Pooling institutions, cases were reimbursed the same for single-level and multilevel ASD surgery. Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, resulted in an additional $1400 per stay. Posterior fusion was an additional $6588, while CCs increased reimbursement by approximately $13,000. Academic institutions received higher reimbursement than private institutions, i.e., approximately $14,000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $16,000 (Case Type 3). Urban institutions received higher reimbursement than suburban institutions, i.e., approximately $3000 (Case Types 1 and 2) and approximately $3500 (Case Type 3). Longer stay, from 3 to 8 days, increased reimbursement between $208 and $494 for private institutions and between $1397 and $1879 for academic institutions per stay. CONCLUSIONS Reimbursement is based on many factors not controlled by surgeons or hospitals, but proper DRG coding can significantly impact the financial health of hospitals and availability of quality patient care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nunley, PD; Mundis, GM; Fessler, RG; Park, P; Zavatsky, JM; Uribe, JS; Eastlack, RK; Chou, D; Wang, MY; Anand, N; Frank, KA; Stone, MB; Kanter, AS; Shaffrey, CI; Mummaneni, PV; International Spine Study Group,

Published Date

  • December 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 43 / 6

Start / End Page

  • E11 -

PubMed ID

  • 29191102

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29191102

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1092-0684

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3171/2017.7.FOCUS17278


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States