OREF grant winner gives surgeons a say in health policy decisions

OREF-funded research used to improve reimbursement for orthopaedic procedures
Every day, public policy decisions handed down by health-care policy makers affect the treatment choices that orthopaedic surgeons make. But do these decision makers ever consult actual clinicians?

Since 2003, Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, winner of the 2006 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) Career Development Award, has been leading an investigation of the relationship between economics, health policy, and the practice of orthopaedic surgery. “I want to create a dialogue between orthopaedic surgeons and government payers, like Medicare, regarding the costs associated with total joint replacement procedures,” said Dr. Bozic. “Discrepancies between resource use and reimbursement discourage some hospitals and surgeons from doing these procedures. That affects both the quality of care delivered and patient access to care.”

An analysis of patient-level clinical and financial data from three high-volume institutions led to a better understanding of the actual costs associated with joint replacement procedures, the first step in opening lines of communication between orthopaedic surgeons and government payers. “This was data that Medicare and other large payers didn’t have,” Dr. Bozic said.

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