Trends of Expenditures and Utilization of Facet Joint Interventions in Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare Population from 2009-2018.

Laxmaiah Manchikanti, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Vidyasagar Pampati, Pain Management Centers of America, Paducah, KY
Amol Soin, Ohio Pain Clinic
Rachana Vanaparthy, Oregon Health and Science University
Mahendra R. Sanapati, Pain Management Centers of America Evansville, IN
Alan D. Kaye, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Joshua A. Hirsch, Harvard Medical School


Background: The trends of the expenditures of facet joint interventions have not been specifically assessed in the fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare population since 2009. Objective: The objective of this investigation is to assess trends of expenditures and utilization of facet joint interventions in FFS Medicare population from 2009 to 2018. Study design: The study was designed to analyze trends of expenditures and utilization of facet joint interventions in FFS Medicare population from 2009-2018 in the United States. In this manuscript: • A patient was considered as undergoing facet joint interventions throughout the year. • A visit included all regions treated during the visit. • An episode was considered as one per region utilizing primary codes only. • Services or procedures were considered all procedures (multiple levels). Data for the analysis was obtained from the standard 5% national sample of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) physician outpatient billing claims for those enrolled in the FFS Medicare program from 2009 to 2018. All the expenditures were presented with allowed costs and also were inflation adjusted to 2018 US dollars. Results: This analysis showed expenditures increased by 79% from 2009 to 2018 in the form of total cost for facet joint interventions, at an annual rate of 6.7%. Cervical and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy procedures increased 185% and 169%. However, inflation-adjusted expenditures with 2018 US dollars showed an overall increase of 53% with an annual increase of 4.9%. In addition, using inflation-adjusted expenditures per procedures increased, the overall 6% with an annual increase of 0.7%. Overall, per patient costs, with inflation adjustment, decreased from $1,925 to $1,785 with a decline of 7% and an annual decline of 0.8%. Allowed charges per visit also declined after inflation adjustment from $951.76 to $849.86 with an overall decline of 11% and an annual decline of 1.3%. Staged episodes of radiofrequency neurotomy were performed in 23.9% of patients and more than 2 episodes for radiofrequency neurotomy in 6.9%, in lumbar spine and 19.6% staged and 5.1% more than 2 episodes in cervical spine of patients in 2018. Limitations: This analysis is limited by inclusion of only the FFS Medicare population, without adding utilization patterns of Medicare Advantage plans, which constitutes almost 30% of the Medicare population. Conclusions: Even after adjusting for inflation, there was a significant increase for the expenditures of facet joint interventions with an overall 53% increase. Costs per patient and cost per visit declined. Inflation-adjusted cost per year declined 7% overall and 0.8% annually from $1,925 to $1,785, and inflation-adjusted cost per visit also declined 11% annually and 1.3% per year from $952 in 2009 to $850 in 2018.