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Get Foot and Ankle Care Out of the Hospital

In their retrospective study, Goldfard et al. have confirmed (once again) what we all already know: Out-patient surgical care, away from the economic engine of the inpatient hospital systems, is a critical part of cost containment. They found that out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for patients undergoing foot and ankle surgery have increased by 102% from 2010 to 2020.

Three primary generators of increased OOP costs:

  1. A general inflation in all health care costs

  2. Trauma-related surgery is more expensive than elective surgery

  3. Hospital tax ID anchored care is more expensive across the board

Surprisingly few comparison studies

While a head-to-head comparison of hospital-based care and ASC seems like the obvious study topic, in our foot and ankle world, there is limited published data. Oh et al. tackled the subject with a focus on complex hindfoot and ankle surgery. They found that patients in both cohorts had similar functional outcomes on discharge of the surgical program. Analgesia was effective in both groups, and no complications were reported. The cost of care for outpatients was 54% lower than that for inpatients.

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