Surgeons, medical device makers find insurers resisting costly back fusions

Full story: TwinCities.com

There's nothing like back pain. Just ask Dan Hoxworth, 50, of Mahtomedi. Beyond watching his father and brothers suffer from disc problems over the years, Hoxworth has felt the pain personally with herniated discs in each of the past three decades.
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mirel

Suceava, Romania

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#1
Jan 30, 2011
 

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That it is only statistic. On http://www.miere-bucovina.ro [miere de albine], i find some answer.
carolrv

Dallas, TX

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#2
Jan 30, 2011
 

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In my health care career of 45 years I cared for many patients who had had back surgery as described in this article, with insertion (and removal, or replacement) of hardware. Many had multiple procedures and chronic pain afterwards. Then they sometimes had devices implanted to attempt to treat the chronic pain. I have disc problems myself and a lifetime of periodic back pain, but my experience at work has taught me that surgery does not always make the pain better.
Tom H

Rochester, MN

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#3
Jan 30, 2011
 

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The one time I consulted with a spine surgeon at the Twin Cities Spine Center he echoed what Hoxworth reported, that surgery was the absolute last resort - he steered me away from even considering that option. This from a doctor who consults for Medtronic, and makes his living doing surgery.
I have no doubt the insurance companies are interested in protecting their bottom lines, but when roughly one-third of our health care spending in the U.S. ends up right in their pockets they should look to their own house first. Insurance CEOs rake in outrageous salaries, perks, and bonuses for running a paperwork-processing red-tape-making company looking out for their profits, while the vast majority of doctors look out for their patients, and seldom leap right to the approach that makes them the most money.
I'm not surprised Medtronic wants to increase their business, that's what business is all about - but I would be surprised and deeply concerned if they relied on folks who were less-than-expert to explain the use of new devices to surgeons, in the way that pharmaceutical companies often employ sales reps with little or no medical expertise to persuade physicians to use their products.
Back pain

Minneapolis, MN

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#4
Jan 30, 2011
 

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#1 solution to back pain: walk a lot!!

#2 solution to back pain: Ibruprophen and walking (sp?)

#3 solution to back pain ignore it

#4 solution to back pain go back to #1 solution!!
drj

Saint Paul, MN

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#5
Jan 30, 2011
 

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There is "back" pain and there is a fire like pain that goes down your leg due to a disk problem. PT can help with the latter and you can avoid a prima dona surgeon cutting you open.
Intelligent PT

Wayzata, MN

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#6
Jan 30, 2011
 

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There Are back patients who do not jump into surgery that may not work. They research and hope the Doc they are working with is courteous and helpful. They try not to do things that will aggravate the discs. Ultimately surgery is the patients choice knowing it does not work all the time, and sometimes will need to be redone. I lost a friend a few years ago who had fusion surgery. Unfortunately some Doc's may degrade you and make you out to be dependant on pain medicine even if it is not true. Your reputation is damaged and that will follow you in any other healthcare facility you may go to. This is wrong, but they will not change it. The particular Doc has the prestige and you do not. They should not be in this field. They are arrogant controlling people who really have no concern about truly helping people. They are influenced by Celebrity abuse that is in the media constantly, whhich shows their ignorance.
retired person

Stillwater, MN

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#7
Jan 30, 2011
 

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When I had my back problem, I had no pain in my back but rather the pain down the leg. I went to Stillwater Medical Clinic where they had me go through muscle relaxers, prednisone, physical therapy, and two cortisone injections. None of it helped at all because I have very small epidural spaces (the person doing the injections told me this) and the disc wouldn't go back. And no, walking wouldn't never have helped because I couldn't walk. That's stupid. I did have surgery but it was microdiskectomy, not fusion. They told me there was a 1 in 4 chance of needing a fusion if it popped out again but so far (almost 14 years)I haven't needed anything. I don't know why they're going right to fusion though unless there's a medical reason. Maybe St. Croix Orthopedics is better?
Interesting

Wayzata, MN

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#8
Jan 30, 2011
 

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Health Partners Insurance Co/Regions Hospital is now affiliated with the Stillwater Medical Group.
Curmudgeon

Saint Paul, MN

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#9
Jan 30, 2011
 

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As somebody that went through all the exercise programs, therapy, and the rest of the bs the insurance demanded, I had my spinal fusion surgery and have never looked back. It was a god send and worth every penny they paid and the chunk I kicked in. It made a huge difference in my quality of life.
Its your choice

Saint Paul, MN

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#10
Jan 30, 2011
 

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I have had low back pain for most of my adult life 45+ years.
I went the Phy. Thpy route and have managed to do most of the things I enjoy doing.
I have relied on a back brace for support when Im engaged in any heavy phy activity like hunting, mtn bike riding and even hockey.
I have also had to use Lidocaine patches and ibruprophen and sometimes a tens unit, when I over do it.
I was told that if I went with the fusion procedure it would have restricted my bending motion 40%.
Knowing that is what made me take the path that Im still on.
For me, it was the right choice.

Since: Mar 09

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#11
Jan 31, 2011
 
Hoxworth also went through a back-strengthening program at Physicians Neck & Back, a practice that's owned by HealthPartners and promotes exercise as a way to prevent back woes. Hoxworth completed the program about two years ago, but still regularly performs back-strengthening exercises he learned from the medical group.

So HealthPartners is steering patients into their company-owned treatment facility? Is this any different from what the back surgeons are being accused of?
Al Gore

Walker, MN

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Jan 31, 2011
 

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highland guy wrote:
Hoxworth also went through a back-strengthening program at Physicians Neck & Back, a practice that's owned by HealthPartners and promotes exercise as a way to prevent back woes. Hoxworth completed the program about two years ago, but still regularly performs back-strengthening exercises he learned from the medical group.
So HealthPartners is steering patients into their company-owned treatment facility? Is this any different from what the back surgeons are being accused of?
I think the difference is that Health Partners is paying the bill?
dc

Tyler, TX

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#13
Jan 31, 2011
 

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I wish they where doing this before we lost my dad after surgery. He lived 14 months with an open wound paralyzed from the chest down. His spine literally rotted. At the same hospital dr. Baker killed someone during back surgery. The doctor who did my dads surgery license was taken in ca. Texas let him come here and practice. Warning to everyone know your doctor before letting them open your back. Don't trust or take for granted that they know what they are doing. Rip John puente Beaumont Texas love you and miss you.
Curmudgeon

Saint Paul, MN

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#14
Jan 31, 2011
 

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Its your choice wrote:
I have had low back pain for most of my adult life 45+ years.
I went the Phy. Thpy route and have managed to do most of the things I enjoy doing.
I have relied on a back brace for support when Im engaged in any heavy phy activity like hunting, mtn bike riding and even hockey.
I have also had to use Lidocaine patches and ibruprophen and sometimes a tens unit, when I over do it.
I was told that if I went with the fusion procedure it would have restricted my bending motion 40%.
Knowing that is what made me take the path that Im still on.
For me, it was the right choice.
The percentage is vastly exagerated. It's closer to 12%. You can live with it.

Since: Mar 09

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#15
Feb 1, 2011
 
Al Gore wrote:
<quoted text>
I think the difference is that Health Partners is paying the bill?
Are they paying the bill on an under-utilized rehab facility, and need to fill it?

Between your Insurance company and your Doctor, which one is more truly looking out for your health ?
Karen G

Fremont, CA

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#16
Aug 5, 2011
 
Back pain can be such as pain not only literally but also mentally, emotionally as well as financially. Getting the proper treatment is important. One should ensure that the intervention used is safe as effective.
I found this site very helpful. http://www.hiprecalllaw.com

Since: Nov 08

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#17
Aug 6, 2011
 
Just remember what your "God" Obama said over and over again. "YES WE CAN"

YOU GOT OBAMACARE you liberal crybabies, now live with its. So typical.

You want everyone else to pay for your stinking ineffectual freeloading life and when that does not work out...WA, WA, WA...

No sympathy here...Most of you MN IDIOTS are to stupid to see past your little safe bubble.

No worries, the State Fair is coming and you will have 24/7 local coverage.

Since: Nov 08

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#18
Aug 6, 2011
 
Shut up and Google Physician, Neck and Back Clinic, using state of the art MED-EX machines. Saved me from back fusion 20 years ago. But have to but some effort into it. No magic wands folks. Never mind you lazy fat cretins I will put it below.

http://www.pnbconline.com/

6 locations be pain free without surgery, Insurance loves it. Wake up.
Elle

Hillsboro, OR

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#21
Oct 19, 2012
 
This only looks natural. AFter all, we are currently in a economic crisis. http://www.vaginalmeshlawsuit.com/vaginal-mes...
Elle

Clifton, NJ

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#22
Oct 30, 2012
 
This only looks natural. AFter all, we are currently in a economic crisis. http://www.vaginalmeshlawsuitcenter.us/class-...

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