October 2001 Bulletin

Hip fracture consensus report urges coordination on prevention, care

Hip fractures are one of the most common, costly and devastating injuries suffered by Americans. There are more than 350,000 hip fractures a year, accounting for about 30 percent of all fracture-related hospitalizations.

Despite the enormity of the problem various factors in the nation’s health care system are compromising the quality of care of patients, states the final report of the National Consensus Conference on Improving the Continuum of Care for Patients with Hip Fractures. The conference in May 2001 drew participants from 40 organizations and institutions. They examined all the stages of the continuum of care for hip fracture patients–from in-hospital medical and surgical care to post-discharge care and strategies for falls prevention and treatment of osteoporosis after hip fracture.

The most effective solution to what the consensus group called a "public health crisis" is a coordinated approach to hip fracture prevention and care, the group said in its recommendations which were endorsed by the AAOS Board of Directors on Sept. 8, 2001. "Health care providers at a given point along the continuum of care must strive to improve communication with health care providers at other points along the continuum," the group said.

"Private and public health payers must retool reimbursement policies so that emphasis is placed on a coordinated continuum of care process, rather than emphasizing early discharge. Health care providers and the public must be educated on the special needs of patients with hip fracture and on the prevention of osteoporosis. Finally, researchers must focus on gathering more data to gain a better understanding of fall mechanics and to devise evidence-based multidisciplinary clinical pathways."

Among the recommendations on reimbursement are:

Joseph Zuckerman, MD, chairman of the Council on Education, and Alan Morris, MD, chairman of the Council on Health Policy, were co-chairmen of the consensus conference.

Home Previous Page