ASC use, 46% decline in spinal fusions fueled drop in California inpatient stays, study says

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A steady decline in spinal fusions largely contributed to California's 31 percent drop in workers' compensation inpatient hospital stays, according to a new report from the California Workers' Compensation Institute.

According to the report released Sept. 27, CWCI examined hospital discharge data from nearly 32.2 million inpatient stays. Researchers compared the volume and types of inpatient hospitalizations paid under California workers' compensation to inpatient hospitalizations reimbursed under Medicare, Medi-Cal and private insurers.

Workers' comp represented 0.4 percent of all inpatient stays in 2018, compared to 0.6 percent in 2010.

CWCI researchers said that 31 percent decline was fueled by five factors:

1. The addition of 3.7 million Californians to Medi-Cal rolls after the ACA became available

2. Variance in the number of claims, as well as the types of claims

3. An uptick in the use of ASCs

4. Technological and procedural advances that facilitate outpatient care

5. A 46 percent reduction in the number of spinal fusions since 2010

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