Revenue for Initial Orthopaedic Trauma Care: Effects of Patient and Injury Characteristics

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To characterize the charges and collections associated with the initial inpatient management of trauma patients who undergo operative fracture management.




Level 1 trauma center.


Four hundred forty consecutive, adult, trauma patients.


Fixation for fracture of the spine, pelvis, acetabulum, and/or femur fractures.

Main Outcome Measures:

Professional and technical (facility) charges and collections from the initial inpatient management and 6 months of subsequent related care.


Patients were predominantly male (74.3%) and white (63.2%) with a mean age of 41 years and mean injury severity score of 18.5. Uninsured (self-pay) patients represented the largest payer class (35.0%), and 34.5% of all patients were unemployed. Professional and technical charges totaled US $12,382,028 (US $28,140/patient) and US $39,682,225 (US $90,187/patient), respectively. Injury severity score, longer lengths of stay (LOS), and the presence of a complication were positive predictors of initial charges (P < 0.0001; adjusted R2 = 0.799). Professional and technical collections totaled US $2,418,096 (US $5,496/patient) and US $16,921,959 (US $38,459/patient) (percent of charge: 21.5% vs. 41.3%; P < 0.0001). Of the self-pay patients, 34.4% had no collections, resulting in potential lost revenue of US $2,513,988. Greater collections were predicted to occur in females, employed patients, and those with insurance (P < 0.0001; adjusted R2 = 0.35).


Trauma patients often present without insurance, which compromises hospital revenue. Expectedly, charges are higher in more severely injured patients, those with longer LOS, and those experiencing complications. A bundled model will proportionately decrease reimbursements for a given episode of care in the event of longer LOS or occurrence of complications.

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