INTRODUCTION: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) remain an effective treatment option for multiple pathologies of the cervical spine. As the health care economic climate has changed, so have reimbursements with a concomitant push toward outpatient procedures. Certificate of Need (CON) programs were established in response to burgeoning health care costs which require states to demonstrate need before expansion of medical facilities. The impact of this program on spine surgery is largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of CON status on reimbursement and utilization trends of ACDF in both inpatient and outpatient settings.MATERIALS AND METHODS: We queried a combined private payer and Medicare database from 2007 to 2015. All single-level ACDFs were identified. We then split each procedure into those performed in CON versus non-CON states. We then further split each group into the inpatient and outpatient settings. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) was used to compare utilization and reimbursement trends. Reimbursement was adjusted for inflation using the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.RESULTS: A total of 32,727 single-level ACDFs were identified, of which 28,441 were performed in the inpatient setting, and 4286 were performed in the outpatient setting. Reimbursement decreased across all settings, with the most pronounced decrease in the non-CON outpatient setting with an adjusted CAGR of -11.0%. Utilization increased across all groups, although the fastest growth was seen in the outpatient CON setting with a CAGR of 47.7%, and the slowest growth seen in the inpatient non-CON setting at a CAGR of 12.9%.CONCLUSIONS: ACDF utilization increased most rapidly in the outpatient setting, and CON status did not appear to hinder growth. Reimbursement decreased across all settings, with the outpatient setting in non-CON states most affected. Surgeons should be aware of these trends in the changing health care environment.
View details for DOI 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000914
View details for PubMedID 31693517