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Decreased Medicare Reimbursement to Physicians Over Last 20 Years for Common Arthroscopic Procedures

December 17, 2020

According to data from a recent study, Medicare reimbursement—when adjusted for inflation—has decreased for physicians over the last 20 years for the most common arthroscopic procedures.

M Lane Moore, BS, Mayo Clinic, Alix School of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ, and colleagues, conducted an analysis using Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) data on the top 20 most commonly utilized orthopedic arthroscopic surgical procedures from 2000 to 2019.

They used the physician fee schedule look-up tool to calculate national reimbursement averages and adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. The researchers noted that current procedural codes that did not exist in 2000 were unable to be analyzed.

Per the final data, “Medicare reimbursement for the twenty most commonly performed arthroscopic procedures from 2000-2019 has decreased substantially (-29.81%).”

More specifically, the mean Medicare reimbursement to physicians was $906 vs $632 in 2000 and 2019, respectively.

“During this same time period,” the researchers explained, “the annual change for the adjusted mean reimbursement rate for all included arthroscopic procedures was -1.8% per year, while the average CAGR was -1.9%.”

The researchers concluded that their results confirm that Medicare reimbursement to physicians has decreased by nearly 30% for the last 20 years for the most common arthroscopic procedures.

—Edan Stanley


Moore ML, Pollock JR, Haglin JM, et al. A Comprehensive Analysis of Medicare Reimbursement to Physicians for Common Arthroscopy Procedures: Adjusted Reimbursement has Fallen Nearly 30% from 2000 to 2019 [published online ahead of print, 2020 Dec 2]. Arthroscopy. 2020;S0749-8063(20)31050-1. doi:10.1016/j.arthro.2020.11.049


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