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Neurosurgical Utilization, Charges, and Reimbursement After the Affordable Care Act: Trends From 2011 to 2019. Neurosurgery Hersh, A. M., Dedrickson, T., Gong, J. H., Jimenez, A. E., Materi, J., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K., Azad, T. D. 2023


BACKGROUND: An estimated 50 million Americans receive Medicare health care coverage. Prior studies have established a downward trend in Medicare reimbursement for commonly billed surgical procedures, but it is unclear whether these trends hold true across all neurosurgical procedures.OBJECTIVE: To assess trends in utilization, charges, and reimbursement by Medicare for neurosurgical procedures after passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.METHODS: We review yearly Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary datasets from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for all procedures billed by neurosurgeons to Medicare Part B between 2011 and 2019. Procedural coding was categorized into cranial, spine, vascular, peripheral nerve, and radiosurgery cases. Weighted averages for charges and reimbursements adjusted for inflation were calculated. The ratio of the weighted mean reimbursement to weighted mean charge was calculated as the reimbursement-to-charge ratio, representing the proportion of charges reimbursed by Medicare.RESULTS: Overall enrollment-adjusted utilization decreased by 12.1%. Utilization decreased by 24.0% in the inpatient setting but increased by 639% at ambulatory surgery centers and 80.2% in the outpatient setting. Inflation-adjusted, weighted mean charges decreased by 4.0% while reimbursement decreased by 4.6%. Procedure groups that saw increases in reimbursement included cervical spine surgery, cranial functional and epilepsy procedures, cranial pain procedures, and endovascular procedures. Ambulatory surgery centers saw the greatest increase in charges and reimbursements.CONCLUSION: Although overall reimbursement declined across the study period, substantial differences emerged across procedural categories. We further find a notable shift in utilization and reimbursement for neurosurgical procedures done in non-inpatient care settings.

View details for DOI 10.1227/neu.0000000000002306

View details for PubMedID 36700751