ProPublica released in 2015 their “Surgeon Scorecard,” that rates surgeons based on their complication rates for eight different elective surgeries, including three spinal surgeries. These ratings are based on hospital re-admissions within 30 days and death during the initial stay, and are adjusted and compiled into a score for each surgeon. ProPublica says they used government-collected data from Medicare patients and included complications “reasonably attributed to surgery” and not some other aspect of care. The database does not include complication rates for physicians who performed an operation fewer than 20 times.
While our doctors all rated excellent on this scorecard, we believe this data is just one piece of information that can guide, but shouldn’t dictate, your decisions about surgery. Other important aspects to know are how many of this procedure your surgeon has performed, other risks to the surgery besides hospital re-admission and death, and whether you are a high risk patient for your procedure. We think open communication between provider and patient is the best way to determine if surgery is the right choice for you.