Surgeons Get Graded: Your Report Card Is Online

The ProPublica “Surgeon Scorecard” has been available online since July 15. If any AAOS members haven’t yet checked out this tool, it might be a good idea to look yourself up. The scorecard details complication rates for individual surgeons who perform any of eight different procedures, five of which are orthopaedic (hip and knee replacement, cervical spine fusion, and anterior and posterior column lumbar fusion).

ProPublica, founded in 2007, describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.” Although it accepts advertising, major funding comes from philanthropic organizations.

To create the Surgeon Scorecard, ProPublica analyzed Medicare billing records for nearly 17,000 surgeons and identified 66,569 complications over 5 years (2009–2013). Complications were reported if the patient was readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of the index procedure. The cost of these readmissions was estimated at $645.3 million.

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