A Decade of Decline: An Analysis of Medicare Reimbursement for Vascular Surgical Procedures
Despite inflation and a robust economy, standard Medicare reimbursements for vascular surgical procedures have progressively declined. The objective of this analysis was to quantitatively and objectively evaluate the decline of vascular surgical reimbursement over the past decade. In this study, data for the analysis of specific vascular surgical procedures was obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics–National Hospital Discharge Survey (NCHS-NHDS) for all vascular procedures as reported by ICD-9-CM codes. The average Medicare reimbursement for each of the specified procedures for 1990 was compared to that of 2001 and the percent change in average reimbursement over this period was calculated. Comparisons between 1990 and 2001 dollar amounts were made after correction for inflation using the consumer price index. This correction factor allows for the calculation of the actual percentage reduction in "real dollars" that is reflected in buying power. We found significant decreases in Medicare reimbursement for each of the vascular procedures included in this analysis. Despite national economic prosperity, there was an average 41% decrease in the buying power per case for vascular surgical procedures over the past decade. We feel that these reductions in reimbursement are overzealous and need to be reexamined.
KeywordsHealth Statistics Correction Factor Percent Change Hospital Discharge Price Index
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