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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Hand

Volume 11, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 347-352.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1177/1558944715627631. Copyright © American Association for Hand Surgery


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate how American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) members' Medicare reimbursement depends on their geographical location and number of years in practice. Methods: Demographic data for surgeons who were active members of the ASSH in 2012 were obtained using information publicly available through the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). "Hand-surgeons-per-capita" and average reimbursement per surgeon were calculated for each state. Regression analysis was performed to determine a relationship between (1) each state's average reimbursement versus the number of ASSH members in that state, (2) average reimbursement versus number of hand surgeons per capita, and (3) total reimbursement from Medicare versus number of years in practice. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to detect a difference in reimbursement based on categorical range of years as an ASSH member. Results: A total of 1667 ASSH members satisfied inclusion in this study. Although there was significant variation among states' average reimbursement, reimbursement was not significantly correlated with the state's hand surgeons per capita or total number of hand surgeons in that given state. Correlation between years as an ASSH member and average reimbursement was significant but non-linear; the highest reimbursements were seen in surgeons who had been ASSH members from 8 to 20 years. Conclusions: Peak reimbursement from Medicare for ASSH members appears to be related to the time of surgeons' peak operative volume, rather than any age-based bias for or against treating Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, though geographic variation in reimbursement does exist, this does not appear to correlate with density or availability of hand surgeons.

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