Impact of Insurance Provider on Postoperative Hospital Length of Stay After Spine Surgery

Luke J. Dosselman, Mark N. Pernik, Najib El Tecle, Zachary Johnson, Umaru Barrie, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Brandon Lopez, Kristen Hall, Salah G. Aoun, Carlos A. Bagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Differences in insurer and payer status have been shown to increase patient hospital length of stay (LOS) by delaying the approval of transfer to a rehabilitation facility. The aim of the current study is to determine the impact of the type of insurance provider on postoperative hospital LOS after spine surgery. Methods: In our single-institution retrospective study, all patients undergoing elective spine surgery between August 2018 and August 2019 as part of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol were enrolled in a prospectively collected registry. Insurance payer type was analyzed to determine its effect on total patient LOS after surgery. Results: A total of 106 patients were included in the study. Insurance payers studied were Medicare, private insurers (preferred provider organization and health maintenance organization), and the Veterans Affairs payer TriWest. Patients in all groups had comparable demographic characteristics and procedural variables. There was a statistically significant difference in days stayed beyond medical clearance among the 3 insurance provider groups (P < 0.001); TriWest patients stayed an average of 3.2 days beyond clearance, compared with private insurance (1.2 days) and Medicare (0.3 days). Individual subanalysis of the ERAS complex pathway population mirrored these findings. Conclusions: Hospitalization beyond medical clearance after spine surgery follows a predictable pattern regardless of ERAS pathway complexity, with Medicare having a shorter delay in approving patient progression than private insurance, which has less of a delay than Triwest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e351-e358
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cost
  • Insurance
  • Length of stay
  • Medicare
  • Spine surgery
  • TriWest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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