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J Arthroplasty. 2019 Mar;34(3):401-407. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2018.11.038. Epub 2018 Dec 2.

Certificate-of-Need State Laws and Total Hip Arthroplasty.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.



Many states have certificate-of-need (CON) programs requiring governmental approval to open or expand healthcare services, with the goal of limiting cost and coordinating utilization of healthcare resources. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the associations between these state-level CON regulations and total hip arthroplasty (THA).


States were designated as CON or non-CON based on existing laws. The 100% Medicare Standard Analytic Files from 2005 to 2014 were used to compare THA procedure volumes, charges, reimbursements, and distribution of procedures based on facility volumes between the CON and non-CON states. Adverse postoperative outcomes were also analyzed.


The per capita incidence of THA was higher in non-CON states than CON states at each time period and overall (P < .0001). However, the rate of change in THA incidence over the time period was higher in CON states (1.0 per 10,000 per year) compared to non-CON states (0.68 per 10,000 per year) although not statistically significant. Length of stay was higher and a higher percentage of patients received care in high-volume hospitals in CON states (both P < .0001). No meaningful differences in postoperative complications were found.


CON laws did not appear to have limited the growth in incidence of THA nor improved quality of care or outcomes during the study time period. It does appear that CON laws are associated with increased concentration of THA procedures at higher volume facilities. Given the inherent potential confounding population and geographic factors, additional research is needed to confirm these findings.


certificate-of-need; complications; hip arthroplasty; procedure cost; regulations

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