Transcatheter versus surgical aortic valve replacement episode payments and relationship to case volume

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Annals of Thoracic Surgery


BACKGROUND: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has increased in volume as an alternative to surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). Comparisons of total episode expenditures, although largely ignored thus far, will be key to the value proposition for payers.

METHODS: We evaluated 6,359 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries undergoing TAVR (17 hospitals, n = 1,655) or SAVR (33 hospitals, n = 4,704) in Michigan between 2012 and 2016. Payments through 90 post-discharge days between TAVR and SAVR were price-standardized and risk-adjusted. Centers were divided into terciles of procedural volume separately for TAVR and SAVR, and payments were compared between lowest and highest terciles.

RESULTS: Payments (± SD) were higher for TAVR than SAVR ($69,388 ± $22,259 versus $66,683 ± $27,377, p < 0.001), while mean hospital length of stay was shorter for TAVR (6.2 ± 5.6 versus 10.2 + 7.5 days, p < 0.001). Index hospitalization payments were $4,374 higher for TAVR (p < 0.001), whereas readmission and post-acute care payments were $1,150 (p = 0.001) and $739 (p = 0.004) lower, respectively, and professional payments were similar. For SAVR, high-volume centers had lower episode payments (difference: 5.0%, $3,255; p = 0.01) and shorter length of stay (10.0 ± 7.5 versus 11.1 ± 7.9 days, p = 0.002) than low volume centers. In contrast, we found no volume-payment relationship among TAVR centers.

CONCLUSIONS: Episode payments were higher for TAVR, despite shorter length of stay. Although not a driver for TAVR, center SAVR volume was inversely associated with payments. These data will be increasingly important to address value-based reimbursement in valve replacement surgery.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aortic Valve; Episode of Care; Female; Health Expenditures; Heart Valve Prosthesis; Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation; Humans; Male; Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

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