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How does Salem rank on spine surgery rates?

By Sandra Pickle, manager spine center and joint replacement program

You might have seen recent articles regarding variation in health care – particularly in spine surgeries. Data from Dartmouth revealed spine surgeries per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries across the nation varied from 3.0 in New York City to 11.5 in Casper, WY. Our rate in Salem for 2014 was 6.22, the lowest of the markets in Oregon.

The Salem Health Spine Center processes 260 to 300 referrals per month. Since 2014, our referral rate to spine surgeries performed has been approximately 20 percent. Of our patients who do undergo spine surgery, 87 percent continue to report a reduction of symptoms one year after surgery.

The Salem Spine Center, a Spine Center of Excellence, is a superb example of the hospital working in partnership with neurosurgeons in practicing value-based, patient-focused care, while utilizing evidence-based standards. We would like to commend the excellent work of our five neurosurgeons in the Salem community and their commitment to appropriate utilization of conservative treatments and avoiding unnecessary surgeries.

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