You are currently viewing Perverse Health-Care Incentives Endanger Spine Patients

Perverse Health-Care Incentives Endanger Spine Patients

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We have failed collectively as physicians when the Louisiana State Legislature must intervene to draft a bill making sure that only spine surgeons are allowed to perform spine surgery. The bill in debate is Louisiana HB 941. It has a fairly straightforward premise: A physician needs to be a spine surgeon in order to perform and bill for spine surgery.

Somewhat astonishingly, non-surgeons have begun performing spine surgery at such a rate that it became necessary for the leading spine organizations in the world to adapt a position statement on the issue. The consensus is again abundantly simple: Only surgeons should perform spinal fusions.

Spinal fusion, a type of spine surgery, is the joining together of two different spine bones. This is done by forming a bony bridge fusion surface and placing bone graft. This is typically supplemented by a device or instrumentation for increased stability,

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