Perception of Risk: A Poll of American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons Members

Adolph J. Yates, Lynne C. Jones, Charles L. Nelson, Melvyn A. Harrington, Michael L. Parks, Ramon L. Jimenez, Josh M. Kerr, Mary I. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Providers of total hip and knee replacements are being judged regarding quality/cost by payers using competition-based performance measures with poor medical and no socioeconomic risk adjustment. Providers might assume that other providers shed risk and the perception of added risk can influence practice. A poll was collected to examine such perceptions. Methods: In 2019 a poll was sent to the 2800 surgeon members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons using Survey Monkey while protecting respondent anonymity/confidentiality. The questions asked whether the perception of poorly risk-adjusted medical comorbidities and socioeconomic risk factors influence surgeons to selectively offer surgery. Results: There were 474 surgeon responses. Prior to elective total hip arthroplasty/total knee arthroplasty, 95% address modifiable risk factors; 52% require a body mass index <40, 64% smoking cessation, 96% an adequate hemoglobin A1C; 82% check nutrition; and 63% expect control of alcohol 2. Due to lack of socioeconomic risk adjustment, 83% reported feeling pressure to avoid/restrict access to patients with limited social support, specifically the following: Medicaid/underinsured, 81%; African Americans, 29%; Hispanics/ethnicities, 27%; and low socioeconomic status, 73%. Of the respondents, 93% predicted increased access to care with more appropriate risk adjustment. Conclusion: Competition-based quality/cost performance measures influence surgeons to focus on medical risk factors in offering lower extremity arthroplasty. The lack of socioeconomic risk adjustment leads to perceptions of added risk from such factors as well. This leads to marginal loss of access for patients within certain medical and socioeconomic classes, contributing to existing healthcare disparities. This represents an unintended consequence of competition-based performance measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1477
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • cost
  • healthcare access
  • quality
  • risk factors
  • socioeconomic disparities
  • total joint arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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