Barriers to Revision Total Hip Service Lines: A Surgeon's Perspective Through a Deterministic Financial Model.

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Clinical orthopaedics and related research


BACKGROUND: Revision THA represents approximately 5% to 10% of all THAs. Despite the complexity of these procedures, revision arthroplasty service lines are generally absent even at high-volume orthopaedic centers. We wanted to evaluate whether financial compensation is a barrier for the development of revision THA service lines as assessed by RVUs.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: Therefore, we asked: (1) Are physicians fairly compensated for revision THA on a per-minute basis compared with primary THA? (2) Are physicians fairly compensated for revision THA on a per-day basis compared with primary THA?

METHODS: Our deterministic financial model was derived from retrospective data of all patients undergoing primary or revision THA between January 2016 and June 2018 at an academic healthcare organization. Patients were divided into five cohorts based on their surgical procedure: primary THA, head and liner exchange, acetabular component revision THA, femoral component revision THA, and combined femoral and acetabular component revision THA. Mean surgical times were calculated for each cohort, and each cohort was assigned a relative value unit (RVU) derived from the 2018 Center for Medicaid and Medicare assigned RVU fee schedule. Using a combination of mean surgical time and RVUs rewarded for each procedure, three models were developed to assess the financial incentive to perform THA services for each cohort. These models included: (1) RVUs earned per the mean surgical time, (2) RVUs earned for a single operating room for a full day of THAs, and (3) RVUs earned for two operating rooms for a full day of primary THAs versus a single rooms for a full day of revision THAs. A sixth cohort was added in the latter two models to more accurately reflect the variety in a typical surgical day. This consisted of a blend of revision THAs: one acetabular, one femoral, and one full revision. The RVUs generated in each model were compared across the cohorts.

RESULTS: Compared with primary THA by RVU per minute, in revision THA, head and liner exchange demonstrated a 4% per minute deficit, acetabular component revision demonstrated a 29% deficit, femoral component revision demonstrated a 32% deficit, and full revision demonstrated a 27% deficit. Compared with primary service lines with one room, revision surgeons with a variety of revision THA surgeries lost 26% potential relative value units per day. Compared with a two-room primary THA service, revision surgeons lost 55% potential relative value units per day.

CONCLUSIONS: In a comparison of relative value units of a typical two-room primary THA service line versus those of a dedicated revision THA service line, we found that revision specialists may lose between 28% and 55% of their RVU earnings. The current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimbursement model is not viable for the arthroplasty surgeon and limits patient access to revision THA specialists.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, economic and decision analysis.





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