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Arthroplasty Growth Rates Similar Across Hospitals

Use of arthroplasty does not appear to be rising faster in hospitals with new orthopedic programs

FRIDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The use of arthroplasty of lower extremity joints is rising at a similar rate in markets that have new arthroplasty programs and in those that don't, according to a study published in the June 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Using Medicare data from 1991 to 2005, Xin Lu, of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, and colleagues identified 24 markets (hospital referral regions) that had new physician-owned orthopedic specialty hospitals. The researchers matched each market with a new specialty hospital to two controls: a market with a general hospital that had a new arthroplasty program and a market that did not have a new arthroplasty program.

The researchers found higher use of arthroplasty at baseline and follow-up in the 24 markets with new specialty orthopedic hospitals, compared to the 24 markets with new arthroplasty programs in general hospitals and the 24 markets without any new arthroplasty programs, although the differences were nonsignificant (P > 0.05). Growth in arthroplasty use was similar in markets that had new specialty hospitals before (increase of 0.63 procedure per 1,000 beneficiaries yearly) and after (an increase of 0.39) the new specialty hospitals entered, compared to markets that had general hospitals with new surgery programs (increase of 0.24 before and 0.43 after) and markets that did not have any new programs (0.38 before and 0.33 after) (P > 0.05 for all comparisons).

"There was no evidence that the rate of growth in the utilization of arthroplasty accelerated in markets that experienced the entry of new orthopedic programs compared with markets that did not experience the entry of new orthopedic programs," the authors write.

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