Impact of Race/Ethnicity on Hospital Resource Utilization After Elective Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion for Degenerative Myelopathy.

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The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


washington; swedish neuro; diversity


INTRODUCTION: With the advent of bundled care payments for spine surgery, there is increasing scrutiny on the costs and resource utilization associated with surgical care. The purpose of this study was to compare (1) the total cost of the hospital episode of care and (2) discharge destination between White, Black, and Hispanic patients receiving elective anterior cervical decompression and fusion for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) in Medicare patients.

METHODS: The 2019 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review Limited Data Set and the 2019 Impact File were used for this project. Multivariate models were created for total cost and discharge destination, controlling for confounders found on univariate analysis. We then performed a subanalysis for differences in specific cost-center charges.

RESULTS: There were 11,506 White (85.4%), 1,707 Black (12.7%), and 261 Hispanic (1.9%) patients identified. There were 6,447 males (47.8%) and 7,027 females (52.2%). Most patients were between 65 to 74 years of age (n = 7,101, 52.7%). The mean cost of the hospital episode was $20,919 ± 11,848. Most patients were discharged home (n = 11,584, 86.0%). Race/ethnicity was independently associated with an increased cost of care (Black: $783, Hispanic: $1,566, P = 0.001) and an increased likelihood of nonhome discharge (Black: adjusted odds ratio: 1.990, P < 0.001, Hispanic: adjusted odds ratio: 1.822, P < 0.001) compared with White patients. Compared with White patients, Black patients were charged more for accommodations ($1808), less for supplies (-$1780), and less for operating room (-$1072), whereas Hispanic patients were charged more ($3556, $7923, and $5162, respectively, P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Black and Hispanic race/ethnicity were found to be independently associated with an increased cost of care and risk for nonhome discharge after elective anterior cervical decompression and fusion for DCM compared with White patients. The largest drivers of this disparity appear to be accommodation, medical/surgical supply, and operating room-related charges. Further analysis of these racial disparities should be performed to improve value and equity of spine care for DCM.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine




Population Health