J Arthroplasty 2020 Jul 28. Epub 2020 Jul 28.
Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.
Background: Concerns exist that minorities who utilize more resources in an episode-of-care following total hip (THA) and knee arthroplasty (TKA) may face difficulties with access to quality arthroplasty care in bundled payment programs. The purpose of this study is to determine if African American patients undergoing TKA or THA have higher episode-of-care costs compared to Caucasian patients.
Methods: We queried Medicare claims data for a consecutive series of 7310 primary TKA and THA patients at our institution from 2015 to 2018. We compared patient demographics, comorbidities, readmissions, and 90-day episode-of-care costs between African American and Caucasian patients. A multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify the independent effect of race on episode-of-care costs.
Results: Compared to Caucasians, African Americans were younger, but had higher rates of pulmonary disease and diabetes. African American patients had increased rates of discharge to a rehabilitation facility (20% vs 13%, P < .001), with higher subacute rehabilitation ($1909 vs $1284, P < .001), home health ($819 vs $698, P = .022), post-acute care ($5656 vs $4961, P = .008), and overall 90-day episode-of-care costs ($19,457 vs $18,694, P = .001). When controlling for confounding comorbidities, African American race was associated with higher episode-of-care costs of $440 (P < .001).
Conclusion: African American patients have increased episode-of-care costs following THA and TKA when compared to Caucasian patients, mainly due to increased rates of home health and rehabilitation utilization. Further study is needed to identify social variables that can help reduce post-acute care resources and prevent reduction in access to arthroplasty care in bundled payment models.