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Medicare Reimbursement Rates For Common Plastic Surgery Procedures: An Analysis From 2000 To 2019
Charalampos Siotos1, Jonathan Kelly1, George Damoulakis2, Kalliopi Siotou, DDS3, Amir Dorafshar, MBBS1.
1Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA, 2University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA, 3National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

PURPOSE: Knowledge of financial trends of Medicare reimbursement is essential for plastic surgeons providing care to Medicare beneficiaries in both private and non-private settings. We sought to evaluate changes in Medicare reimbursement for common plastic surgery procedures from 2000 to 2019.
METHODS: We obtained appropriate approval and we assessed the records of the Physician Fee Schedule of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. We extracted rates of work, facility, or malpractice related relative value units, and total units for twenty common plastic surgery procedures from 2000 to 2019. We then applied descriptive statistics to calculate relative differences and compare the observed changes over time with the inflation rate.
RESULTS: Unadjusted relative differences were ranging from -16.98% to +41.6%. However, after adjusting for inflation rates, we found that adjusted percent change was negative for all procedure (range: -44.32% to -5.04%, Figure 1). In particular, from 2019 to 2000, Medicare reimbursement was statistically significantly decreased by 21.81% on average for total compensation, 29.06% for physicians work compensation, and 16.71% for facility related compensation, while it was increased by 26.6% for malpractice related compensation.
CONCLUSION: Medicare reimbursement rates have changed significantly during the last two decades. However, those changes did not seem to follow the inflation trend. It is important that plastic surgeons and policymakers are aware of these trends and public discussion should be continued for establishing fair reimbursement rates.


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