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A Survey On Spine Surgeons' Opinions On The Release Of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Data

John D. Koerner MD,1 Gregory D. Schroeder MD,1 Anuj Shah BS,2 Paul M. Arnold MD,3 Robert E. Isaacs MD,4 Alan S. Hilibrand MD,1 Alexander R. Vaccaro MD, PhD,1 Kristen E. Radcliff MD1

1The Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, 2Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, 3Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS, 4Duke University, Durham, NC

Abstract

Background

In April 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a dataset for the public which included information on services provided by physicians and healthcare providers for Medicare beneficiaries in the 2012 calendar year. The objective of this study is to determine spine surgeons' opinions on the release of the CMS data, and determine how they feel this information may affect patient care.

Methods

A survey was sent to members of the Association for Collaborative Spine Research (ACSR) regarding their practice patterns and opinions on the release of the CMS data. Determinants included surgical subspecialty, practice setting, years in practice and region. The average response was collected for each question and compared across groups. Additionally, questions in which greater than 75% of respondents either agreed (agree or strongly agree) or disagreed (disagree or strongly disagree) were identified.

Results

Seventy-six surgeons completed the survey, and while the overall interobserver reliability between each question was only slight (κ = 0.11), more than 75% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with five statements and, more than 75% of respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed with six statements. While 86% of surgeons are in favor of more transparency, 83% of respondents felt that without the proper context, the data released does not accurately portray spine surgery. Additionally, 96% of spine surgeons do not believe the CMS data helps patients decide which spine surgeon is best for them.

Conclusions

The small percentage of spine surgeons who responded to this survey are in favor of more transparency but do not feel the release of the CMS data either accurately represents spine surgeons or will help patients better identify the appropriate surgeon. In spite of these concerns, it is unlikely the release of the CMS data will significantly impact the accessibility of a spine surgeon to a Medicare beneficiary.

keywords: 
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, Release of data, Association for Collaborative Spine Research, ACSR
Volume 9 Article 51
doi: 
10.14444/2051