Economic Burden


Lead Author(s): 

Jonathan S. Kirschner, MD, RMSK
Se Won Lee, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The burden of entrapment neuropathies and radiculopathy includes direct health care costs related to diagnosis, physical and occupational therapy, pain management, surgical intervention, plus indirect costs due to lost works days and productivity. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common worker’s compensation diagnoses. Radiculopathy from neck or low back conditions also significantly hampers mobility, activities of daily living, and quality of life.

Mean hospital charges for an average stay of 4.3 days in 2013 were $64,400, although this would not be actual cost paid due to variations in actual payments. Also, the hospital charges did not include professional fees and non-covered charges, such as lab tests. Adding to the cost for about one-third (36%) of discharges with a diagnosis of focal neuropathy discharged from a hospital in 2013 was “discharged to additional care”, either at a skilled nursing facility or with home health care. Mean emergency department charges were $3,200 with a focal neuropathy diagnosis, with 1 in 5 (19%) cases admitted to the hospital. (Reference Table 6B.2.1 PDF CSV and Table 6B.2.2 PDF CSV)


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