Orthopedic surgeon ownership myth debunked, at least for 1 group: 4 findings on how ASC, hospital ownership affects utilization

Does hospital or ASC ownership affect orthopedic surgery utilization?

A new study published in Clinical Spine Surgery sought to find the answer. The research, conducted by physicians from Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute, examined whether ownership in specialty hospitals or ASCs can affect surgical volume. The study authors examined procedures performed by 75 Rothman Institute surgeons from Jan. 1, 2010, to March 1, 2015.

There were 104,661 surgeries performed during the time frame, in which the practice purchased ownership stake in one hospital and three ASCs. Study authors found:

1. There was an increase in surgical cases performed per surgeon per year, but the increase was lower for equity partners by 1.51 cases per year. The average increase was around 2.82 cases annually.

2. After examining case volume two years before purchasing the specialty hospital, study authors found an increase of 0.093 cases on average per surgeon per month after ownership in the hospital.

3. During the two years after the physicians invested in the specialty hospital, the researchers reported a 0.027 case decrease in the number of cases per surgeon per month.

4. Study authors concluded, "In a well-established large orthopedic practice, surgeon ownership of a hospital or ASC does not lead to an increase in surgical volume."

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