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William E. Gordon, William M. Mangham, L. Madison Michael II and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The cost of training neurosurgical residents is especially high considering the duration of training and the technical nature of the specialty. Despite these costs, on-call residents are a source of significant economic value, through both indirectly and directly supervised activities. The authors sought to identify the economic value of on-call services provided by neurosurgical residents.

METHODS

A personal call log kept by a single junior neurosurgical resident over a 2-year period was used to obtain the total number of consultations, admissions, and procedures. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes were used to estimate the resident’s on-call economic value.

RESULTS

A single on-call neurosurgical resident at the authors’ institution produced 8172 work relative value units (wRVUs) over the study period from indirectly and directly supervised activities. Indirectly supervised procedures produced 7052 wRVUs, and directly supervised activities using the CPT modifier 80 yielded an additional 1120 wRVUs. Using the assistant surgeon billing rate for directly supervised activities and the Medical Group Management Association nationwide median neurosurgery reimbursement rate, the on-call activities of a single resident generated a theoretical billing value of $689,514 over the 2-year period, or $344,757 annually. As a program, the on-call residents collectively produced 39,550 wRVUs over the study period, or 19,775 wRVUs annually, which equates to potential reimbursements of $1,668,386 annually.

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgery residents at the authors’ institution theoretically produce enough economic value exclusively from on-call activities to far exceed the cost of their education. This information could be used to more precisely estimate the true overall cost of neurosurgical training and determine future graduate medical education funding.

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Jonathan J. Lee, David J. Segar, John F. Morrison, William M. Mangham, Shane Lee and Wael F. Asaad

OBJECTIVE

Early radiographic findings in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been studied in hopes of better predicting injury severity and outcome. However, prior attempts have generally not considered the various types of intracranial hemorrhage in isolation and have typically not excluded patients with potentially confounding extracranial injuries. Therefore, the authors examined the associations of various radiographic findings with short-term outcome to assess the potential utility of these findings in future prognostic models.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified 1716 patients who had experienced TBI without major extracranial injuries, and categorized them into the following TBI subtypes: subdural hematoma (SDH), traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, intraparenchymal hemorrhage (which included intraventricular hemorrhage), and epidural hematoma. They specifically considered isolated forms of hemorrhage, in which only 1 subtype was present.

RESULTS

In general, the presence of an isolated SDH was more likely to result in worse outcomes than the presence of other isolated forms of traumatic intracranial hemorrhage. Discharge to home was less likely and perihospital mortality rates were generally higher in patients with SDH. These findings were not simply related to age and were not fully captured by the admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. The presence of SDH had a much higher sensitivity for poor outcome than the presence of other TBI subtypes, and was more sensitive for these poor outcomes than having a low GCS score (3–8).

CONCLUSIONS

In these ways, SDH was the most important finding associated with poor outcome, and the authors show that consideration of SDH, specifically, can augment age and GCS score in classification and prognostic models for TBI.