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Osteoporosis-Related Fractures Lead Reasons for Hospitalization

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Oct 2019
A new study reveals that osteoporotic fractures are responsible for more hospitalizations in the United States than heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer combined.

A new report released by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF; Arlington, VA, USA) analyses the economic and clinical impact of bone fractures suffered by American citizens registered in the Medicare program. An independent estimate based on the analysis found that despite proven preventive measures, around two million Americans on Medicare suffered over 2.3 million osteoporosis-related bone fractures during 2015. The analysis also provides insights on the potential economic savings that could be realized if the rate of secondary (repeat) fractures were reduced through model prevention practices. Ialso provides insights on the potential economic savings that could be realized if the rate of secondary (repeat) fractures were reduced through model prevention practices.

Image: Osteoporotic fractures are the leading cause of hospitalizations in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Dreamstime).
Image: Osteoporotic fractures are the leading cause of hospitalizations in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of Dreamstime).

Undertaken by actuarial firm Milliman (Seattle, WA, USA), the findings are based on a review of an extensive database of Medicare fee-for-service claims incurred in 2015. Analysis showed that female beneficiaries had a 79% higher rate of osteoporotic fracture than males, and the most common fractures involved the spine and hip, representing 40% of all osteoporotic fractures; hospitalization rates were more than 90% among those sustaining a hip fracture. Nearly 20% died within 12 months of a new osteoporotic fracture, and those with a hip fracture had the highest mortality, with 30% dying within 12 months.

The report also focused on "new" osteoporotic fractures, by excluding beneficiaries who had another osteoporotic fracture in the prior 6- to 12- months. The results revealed that about 15% of those who experienced a new osteoporotic fracture had one or more subsequent fractures within 12 months of the initial fracture. Despite this, only nine percent of women who suffered an osteoporotic fracture were screened with a bone mineral density test within six months of the first fracture. In fact, the percentage of patients aged 50 and older who received a registered therapy for osteoporosis within twelve months of a hip fracture declined from 40% in 2002 to 21% in 2011.

“The health care system is failing the more than 54 million people who either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk of the disease. The good news is that we have the tools to stem this crisis. Medicare pays for state-of-the-art bone density testing to identify those who are at risk of bone fractures,” said Elizabeth Thompson, CEO of NOF. “Medicare also pays for drug treatments for osteoporosis that can help reduce spine and hip fractures by up to 70% and cut repeat fractures by about half. And new models of coordinated care for patients post-fracture have proven to reduce rates of fractures and lower costs.”

Related Links:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
Milliman


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