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Determination Of Work Related To Endoscopic Decompression Of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – Lumbar Disc Replacement

The article discusses the need for updated payment rates for single-level endoscopic lumbar discectomy procedures in the United States. While a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code exists for the procedure, no work relative value units (wRVUs) have been assigned to it. The authors conducted a survey of 210 spine surgeons to assess the technical and physical effort, risk, and overall intensity of the procedure compared to other commonly performed lumbar surgeries. The majority of surgeons believed that the procedure’s wRVU should be higher, indicating that they feel inadequately compensated. The survey also found that healthcare facilities struggle to cover the cost of the procedure, and most surgeons recommended an endoscopic instrumentation carveout to pay for the added cost. The article concludes that the current payment system undervalues the complexity and intensity of modern endoscopic spine surgery and suggests the need for updated CPT codes reflective of these advancements

Summarised by Mr Mo Akmal – Lead Spinal Surgeon
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Published article

Background: Effective 1 January 2017, single-level endoscopic lumbar discectomy received a Category I Current Procedural Terminology (CPT^(®)) code 62380. However, no work relative value units (wRVUs) are currently assigned to the procedure. A physician’s payment needs to be updated to commensurate with the work involved in the modern version of the lumbar endoscopic decompression procedure with and without the use of any implants to stabilize the spine. In the United States, the American…

Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery Expert. Best Spinal Surgeon UK
Abstract Background: Effective 1 January 2017, single-level endoscopic lumbar discectomy received a Category I Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code 62380. However, no work relative value units (wRVUs) are currently assigned to the procedure. A physician’s payment needs to be updated to commensurate with the work involved in the modern version of the lumbar endoscopic decompression,

Abstract

Background: Effective 1 January 2017, single-level endoscopic lumbar discectomy received a Category I Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code 62380. However, no work relative value units (wRVUs) are currently assigned to the procedure. A physician’s payment needs to be updated to commensurate with the work involved in the modern version of the lumbar endoscopic decompression procedure with and without the use of any implants to stabilize the spine. In the United States, the American Medical Association (AMA) and its Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) proposes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) what wRVUs to assign for any endoscopic lumbar surgery codes. Methods: The authors conducted an independent survey between May and June 2022 which reached 210 spine surgeons using the TypeForm survey platform. The survey link was sent to them via email and social media. Surgeons were asked to assess the endoscopic procedure’s technical and physical effort, risk, and overall intensity without focusing just on the time required to perform the surgery. Respondents were asked to compare the work involved in modern comprehensive endoscopic spine care with other commonly performed lumbar surgeries. For this purpose, respondents were provided with the verbatim descriptions of 12 other existing comparator CPT® codes and associated wRVUs of common spine surgeries, as well as a typical patient vignette describing an endoscopic lumbar decompression surgery scenario. Respondents were then asked to select the comparator CPT® code most reflective of the technical and physical effort, risk, intensity, and time spent on patient care during the pre-operative, peri- and intra-operative, and post-operative periods of a lumbar endoscopic surgery. Results: Of the 30 spine surgeons who completed the survey, 85.8%, 46.6%, and 14.3% valued the appropriate wRVU for the lumbar endoscopic decompression to be over 13, over 15, and over 20, respectively. Most surgeons (78.5%; <50th percentile) did not think they were adequately compensated. Regarding facility reimbursement, 77.3% of surgeons reported that their healthcare facility struggled to cover the cost with the received compensation. The majority (46.5%) said their facility received less than USD 2000, while another 10.7% reported less than USD 1500 and 17.9% reported less than USD 1000. The professional fee received by surgeons was Discussion and Conclusions: The survey results indicate that most surgeons associate CPT® 62380 with the complexity and intensity of a laminectomy and interbody fusion preparation, considering the work in the epidural space using the contemporary outside-in and interlaminar technique and the work inside the interspace using the inside-out technique. Modern endoscopic spine surgery goes beyond the scope of a simple soft-tissue discectomy. The current iterations of the procedure must be considered to avoid undervaluing its complexity and intensity. Additional undervalued payment scenarios could be created if technological advances continue to replace traditional lumbar spinal fusion protocols with less burdensome, yet no less complex, endoscopic surgeries that necessitate a high surgeon effort in terms of time required to perform the operation and its intensity. These undervalued payment scenarios of physician practices, as well as the facility and malpractice expenses, should be further discussed to arrive at updated CPT® codes reflective of modern comprehensive endoscopic spine care.

Keywords: CPT® 62380; Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®); endoscopic decompression; lumbar herniated disc (LDH); physician payment; relative value units (RVUs); spinal stenosis (LSS).

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Determination of Work Related to Endoscopic Decompression of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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Abstract Background: Effective 1 January 2017, single-level endoscopic lumbar discectomy received a Category I Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code 62380. However, no work relative value units (wRVUs) are currently assigned to the procedure. A physician's payment needs to be updated to commensurate with the work involved in the modern version of the lumbar endoscopic decompression

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