Current Issue - March/April 2015 - Vol 18 Issue 2


  1. 2015;18;E115-E127An Updated Assessment of Utilization of Interventional Pain Management Techniques in the Medicare Population: 2000 – 2013
    Public Health Policy Perspective
    Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, Vidyasagar Pampati, MSc, Frank J.E. Falco, MD, and Joshua A. Hirsch, MD.

BACKGROUND: The rapid increase in the prevalence of chronic pain and disability, and the explosion of interventional pain management associated health care costs are a major concern for our community. Further, the increasing utilization of numerous modalities of treatments in managing chronic pain, continue to escalate at a pace which may not be sustainable. There are multiple regulations in place to control the growth of health care expenditures which seem to have been largely ineffective. Among the various modalities utilized in managing chronic pain, interventional techniques have shown a significant increase in their utilization in the face of continued debate with respect to the accuracy of diagnostic interventions and the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. OBJECTIVE: To update and assess the utilization of interventional techniques in chronic pain management in fee-for-service Medicare population. STUDY DESIGN: An updated analysis of the growth of interventional techniques in managing chronic pain in fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries from 2000 through 2013. METHODS: The data were derived and analyzed utilizing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Supplier Procedure Summary Master Data from 2000 through 2013. RESULTS: From 2000 through 2013, in fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, the overall utilization of interventional techniques services increased 236% at an annual average growth of 9.8%, whereas the per 100,000 Medicare population utilization increased 156% with an annual average growth of 7.5%. During this period, the US population increased 12% with an annual average increase of 0.9%, whereas those above 65 years of age increased 27% with an annual average increase of 1.9%. Total Medicare beneficiaries increased 31% with an annual average increase of 2.1%, with an overall increase of 64% for those above 65 years of age, an increase of 26%, constituting 17% of the US population in 2013. The overall increases in epidural and adhesiolysis procedures were 165% compared to 102% per 100,000 fee-for-service population with annual average increases of 7.8% and 5.6%. Facet joint and sacroiliac joint injections increased 417% for services with an annual average increase of 13.5%, whereas the rate per 100,000 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries increased 295% with an annual average increase of 11.1%. LIMITATIONS: Limitations of this assessment include the lack of inclusion of participants from Medicare Advantage plans, lack of appropriate available data for state-wide utilization, and potential errors in documentation, coding, and billing. CONCLUSION: This update once again shows a significant increase in interventional techniques in fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries from 2000 through 2013 with an increase of 156% per 100,000 Medicare population with an annual average increase of 7.5%. During this period the Medicare population increased 31% with an annual average increase of 2.1%.