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Physician Professional Fees Are Declining and Inpatient and Outpatient Facility Fees Are Increasing for Orthopaedic Procedures in the United States

Published:October 04, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2022.08.040

      Purpose

      To examine the trends in physician professional fees and inpatient and outpatient facility fees in orthopaedic surgery in the United States.

      Methods

      Physician professional fees and inpatient and outpatient facility fees were tracked from 2008 to 2021 for the most common orthopaedic procedures in each orthopaedic subspecialty. Using common procedure codes for physician and outpatient procedures and Medicare severity diagnosis related group codes for inpatient procedures, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedules were used to obtain the national payment amounts for physician professional fees and inpatient and outpatient facility fees. Trends in fees were tracked over time after adjustment for inflation.

      Results

      From 2008 to 2021, physician professional fees decreased by an average of 20%, whereas inpatient facility fees increased by 15%, and outpatient facility fees increased by 72%. The orthopaedic subspecialty with the largest decrease in physician professional fees was oncology, with an average decrease of 23.5%, followed by general orthopaedics (23.1%), and sports medicine (22.8%). The largest increase in outpatient facility fees was seen in the subspecialties of general orthopaedics (149.8%), spine (130.1%), and trauma (123.0%).

      Conclusions

      Over the past 13 years, physician professional fees for the most common orthopaedic procedures have declined while inpatient and outpatient facility fees have increased. Understanding these changes is important to the practice of orthopaedic surgery in the United States.

      Level of Evidence

      IV, economic.
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