Variations in Hospital Billing for Total Joint Arthroplasty
Although regional variations in Medicare spending are known, it is not clear whether regional variations exist in hospital charges for total joint arthroplasty. Data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Diagnosis Related Groups 469 and 470 (Major Joint with and without Major Complicating or Comorbid Condition) from 2011 were analyzed for variation by region. Drastic variations in charges between institutions were apparent with significant differences between regions for hospital charges and payments. The median hospital charge nationwide was $71,601 and $46,219 for Diagnosis Related Groups 469 and 470, respectively, with corresponding median payments of $21,231 and $13,743. Weak to no correlation was found between hospital charges and payments despite adjustments for wage index, cost of living, low-income care and teaching institution status.