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Orthopedic ambulatory surgery centers beat inpatient services on cost



NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) are cheaper settings for orthopedic surgery than inpatient venues (IPs) with similar levels of postoperative opioid use, according to a new study.

Fanta Waterman, PhD, director of medical and health sciences at Pacira Pharmaceuticals, and colleagues retrospectively published the results of their investigation in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy supplement for the annual meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Investigators evaluated data from 126,172 commercially insured patients who underwent one of six orthopedic surgical procedures between April 2012 and December 2017. Using the Optum Research Database, they pooled data from patients who had received total knee arthroplasty (TKA), partial knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty (THA), rotator cuff repair (RCR), total shoulder arthroplasty, and lumbar spine fusion.

More than half (51%) of the patients were male, and the patients averaged 58 years of age. Most patients who underwent any of the six surgical interventions had the procedures performed at IPs (68%), while 18% had their operations at HOPDs and 14% were perfomed at ASCs.

TKA, RCR, and THA were the most common procedures performed (32%, 27%, and 20%, respectively). While no fluctuation was observed in the total number of IP procedures performed during 2012-2017, researchers noted a marked increase in ASCs (58%) and HOPDs (15%).

At the 30-day mark, the total all-cause postsurgical costs associated with IPs ($44,566) were more than double that of HOPDs ($20,468) and ASCs ($19,110; P less than .001). Moreover, multivariate adjustment showed that postsurgical costs accrued 30 days after surgery for HOPDs and ASCs were 14% and 27% lower than IPs (P less than .001), respectively.

Additionally, each group exhibited similar evidence of opioid use in the 12-month period prior to undergoing surgery, ranging from 63% to 65%. Postsurgical opioid use among opioid-naive patients was the highest in the HOPD group at 96% prevalence, with IPs and ASCs trailing with 91% and 90% (P less than .001), respectively. However, the postsurgical prevalence of opioid use in patients who had used opioids before surgery was 95% for IPs and HOPDs and 82% for ASCs (P less than .001).

SOURCE: Waterman F et al. AMCP NEXUS 2019, Abstract U12.

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