The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , 2025 - 2030

Alternative Payment Models Should Risk-Adjust for Conversion Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Propensity Score-Matched Study

McLawhorn, Alexander S. et al.


For Medicare beneficiaries, hospital reimbursement for nonrevision hip arthroplasty is anchored to either diagnosis-related group code 469 or 470. Under alternative payment models, reimbursement for care episodes is not further risk-adjusted. This study’s purpose was to compare outcomes of primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) vs conversion THA to explore the rationale for risk adjustment for conversion procedures.


All primary and conversion THAs from 2007 to 2014, excluding acute hip fractures and cancer patients, were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Conversion and primary THA patients were matched 1:1 using propensity scores, based on preoperative covariates. Multivariable logistic regressions evaluated associations between conversion THA and 30-day outcomes.


A total of 2018 conversions were matched to 2018 primaries. There were no differences in preoperative covariates. Conversions had longer operative times (148 vs 95 minutes, P < .001), more transfusions (37% vs 17%, P < .001), and longer length of stay (4.4 vs 3.1 days, P < .001). Conversion THA had increased odds of complications (odds ratio [OR] 1.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.37-2.24), deep infection (OR 4.21; 95% CI 1.72-10.28), discharge to inpatient care (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.34-1.72), and death (OR 2.39; 95% CI 1.04-5.47). Readmission odds were similar.


Compared with primary THA, conversion THA is associated with more complications, longer length of stay, and increased discharge to continued inpatient care, implying greater resource utilization for conversion patients. As reimbursement models shift toward bundled payment paradigms, conversion THA appears to be a procedure for which risk adjustment is appropriate.

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