December 15, 2017

The Economics of Spinal Implants…

 Today’s edition of WorkCompRecap is once again a bit thin on “real” news, although I think WorkCompWire set a new record for automated “Out of Office ” replies received yesterday!
 
Fortunately, a colleague sent me a link to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article that ran recently regarding the spinal implant business that all of you should read.  The authors of the WSJ article did an excellent job illuminating the economics of the spinal implant business, as well as some specific problems in the Medicare population.  They also make references to a study regarding the workers’ compensation industry, a portion of which is quoted below:

“Another study of workers’ compensation cases published this year in the online edition of the journal Spine showed that patients who had a spinal fusion were much less likely to return to work within two years after their surgery than a group of patients with similar conditions who didn’t have surgery, and that 27% of them had to be re-operated on. Their rate of permanent disability was more than five times as high as the patients whose spines weren’t fused, and their daily intake of powerful narcotic painkillers increased by 41% after surgery.”
 
Joe Paduda has also expressed concerns and provided thought provoking material regarding this same topic on several occasions (10/29/2010 and 10/13/2010 ).
 
During this naturally “reflective” time of year, maybe one of our New Years’ Resolutions should be to explore practical, evidence based, and clinically driven ways to make sure an injured worker really needs, or will benefit from, back surgery!
 
You can read the rest of the top news stories by visiting WorkCompWire.com.
 
Happy New Year!
 
Sincerely,
 
Patrick J. Sullivan
Managing Editor
WorkCompWire

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