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Management of sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis with nonoperative care is medical resource-intensive and costly in a United States commercial payer population

Authors Ackerman S, Polly Jr D, Knight T, Holt T, Cummings J

Received 7 September 2013

Accepted for publication 28 November 2013

Published 11 February 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 63—74


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Stacey J Ackerman,1 David W Polly Jr,2 Tyler Knight,3 Tim Holt,4 John Cummings5

1Covance Market Access Services Inc, San Diego, CA, USA; 2University of Minnesota, Orthopaedic Surgery, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 3Covance Market Access Services Inc, Gaithersburg, MD, USA; 4Montgomery Spine Center, Orthopaedic Surgery, Montgomery, AL, USA; 5Community Health Network, Neurosurgery, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Introduction: Low back pain is common and originates in the sacroiliac (SI) joint in 15%–30% of cases. Traditional SI joint disruption/degenerative sacroiliitis treatments include nonoperative care or open SI joint fusion. To evaluate the usefulness of newly developed minimally-invasive technologies, the costs of traditional treatments must be better understood. We assessed the costs of nonoperative care for SI joint disruption to commercial payers in the United States (US).
Methods: A retrospective study of claim-level medical resource use and associated costs used the MarketScan® Commercial Claims and Encounters as well as Medicare Supplemental Databases of Truven Healthcare. Patients with a primary ICD-9-CM diagnosis code for SI joint disruption (720.2, 724.6, 739.4, 846.9, or 847.3), an initial date of diagnosis from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007 (index date), and continuous enrollment for ≥1 year before and 3 years after the index date were included. Claims attributable to SI joint disruption with a primary or secondary ICD-9-CM diagnosis code of 71x.xx, 72x.xx, 73x.xx, or 84x.xx were identified; the 3-year medical resource use-associated reimbursement and outpatient pain medication costs (measured in 2011 US dollars) were tabulated across practice settings. A subgroup analysis was performed among patients with lumbar spinal fusion.
Results: The mean 3-year direct, attributable medical costs were $16,196 (standard deviation [SD] $28,592) per privately-insured patient (N=78,533). Among patients with lumbar spinal fusion (N=434), attributable 3-year mean costs were $91,720 (SD $75,502) per patient compared to $15,776 (SD $27,542) per patient among patients without lumbar spinal fusion (N=78,099). Overall, inpatient hospitalizations (19.4%), hospital outpatient visits and procedures (14.0%), and outpatient pain medications (9.6%) accounted for the largest proportion of costs. The estimated 3-year insurance payments attributable to SI joint disruption were $1.6 billion per 100,000 commercial payer beneficiaries.
Conclusion: The economic burden of SI joint disruption among privately-insured patients in the US is substantial, highlighting the need for more cost-effective therapies.

Keywords: cost, epidural injection, lumbar spinal fusion surgery

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