My number one concern for spine surgery in 2012 is intrusion by insurance companies in your spinal health.
Spine care in America is being destroyed by insurers at an unimaginable and unprecedented rate. Every day spine surgeons are discovering insurance company created roadblocks to their ability to care and provide for their patients.
Spine care is very complex and involves many conditions that are difficult to treat. The most common spinal conditions are those causing debilitating pain from the spine. The most common causes of this pain include muscle pain, facet joint pain and pain originating in the spinal disc (discogenic pain). The only treatments available for these types of conditions are medication, therapy, needle procedures and surgery. Every one of these avenues of treatment is currently (and has been for some time) under heavy attack by the insurance industry.
Insurers simply don't want to pay for spine care, so I predict we will see a dramatic reduction in elective spine care in the near future. Patients will be forced to make a choice: either demand more coverage for spine care from their insurer or pay more out of pocket themselves. The shift of cost for spine care to the patient will result in fewer spinal procedures and this in turn will create tremendous stress on spine care providers to survive in independent practice.
The solution: Less intrusion by insurance companies and the Federal Government in the healthcare you and your physician decide is best for you.
Write your Senator or Congressman and let them know how you feel (contacts below).
My best to you and your family for a happy and healthy New Year!
Ara J. Deukmedjian, M.D.
Board Certified Neuro-Spine Surgeon
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, UCF College of Medicine
President, Brevard County Medical Society
The Honorable Daniel Webster (District 8)
United States House of Representatives
1039 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0908