Purpose: In order to reduce viral spread, elective surgery was cancelled in most US hospitals for an extended period during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to estimate national hospital reimbursement and net income losses due to elective orthopaedic surgery cancellation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) and the Nationwide Ambulatory Surgery Sample (NASS) were used to identify all elective orthopaedic and musculoskeletal (MSK) surgery performed in the inpatient setting and in hospital owned outpatient surgery departments throughout the USA. Total cost, reimbursement, and net income were estimated for all elective orthopaedic surgery and were compared with elective operations from other specialties. Results: Elective MSK surgery accounted for $65.6–$71.1 billion in reimbursement and $15.6–$21.1 billion in net income per year to the US hospital system, equivalent to $5.5–$5.9 billion in reimbursement and $1.3–$1.8 billion in net income per month. When compared with elective surgery from all other specialties, elective MSK surgery accounted for 39% of hospital reimbursement and 35% of hospital net income. Compared with all hospital encounters for all specialties, elective MSK surgery accounted for 13% of reimbursement and 23% of net income. Estimated hospital losses from cancellation of elective MSK surgery during 8 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic were $10.9–$11.9 billion in reimbursement and $2.6–3.5 billion in net income. Conclusion: Cancellation of elective MSK surgery for 8 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic has substantial economic implications on the US hospital system.
- Economic impact
- Elective surgery cancellation
- Orthopaedic surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine