Cost burden of 30-day readmissions following Medicare total hip and knee arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2014 May;29(5):903-5. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed bundling of payments for acute care episodes for certain procedures, including total joint arthroplasty. The purpose of this study is to quantify the readmission burden of TJA as a function of readmission rate and reimbursement for the bundled payment. Using the hospital's administrative database, we identified all unplanned 30-day readmissions following index admissions for total hip and total knee arthroplasty, and revision hip and knee arthroplasty among Medicare beneficiaries from 2009 to 2012. For each group, we determined 30-day readmission rates and direct costs of each readmission. The hospital cost margins for Medicare TJAs are small and any decrease in these margins can potentially make performing these procedures economically unfeasible potentially decreasing Medicare patient access.

Keywords: acute care episode; readmission; readmission burden; revision; total hip arthroplasty; total knee arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / economics*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / economics*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Patient Readmission / economics*
  • United States / epidemiology