Health-Care Utilization and Expenditures Associated with Long-Term Treatment after Combat and Non-Combat-Related Orthopaedic Trauma

Kalei Hering, Miles W.A. Fisher, Michael K. Dalton, Andrew K. Simpson, Jamie Ye, Nishant Suneja, Zara Cooper, Tracey P. Koehlmoos, Andrew J. Schoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:The long-term consequences of musculoskeletal trauma can be profound and can extend beyond the post-injury period. The surveillance of long-term expenditures among individuals who sustain orthopaedic trauma has been limited in prior work. We sought to compare the health-care requirements of active-duty individuals who sustained orthopaedic injuries in combat and non-combat (United States) environments using TRICARE claims data.Methods:We identified service members who sustained combat or non-combat musculoskeletal injuries between 2007 and 2011. Combat-injured personnel were matched to those in the non-combat-injured cohort on a 1:1 basis using biologic sex, year of the injury, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and age at the index hospitalization. Health-care utilization was surveyed through 2018. The total health-care expenditures over the post-injury period were the primary outcome. These were assessed as a total overall cost and then as costs adjusted per year of follow-up. We used negative binomial regression to identify the independent association between risk factors and health-care expenditures.Results:We identified 2,119 individuals who sustained combat-related orthopaedic trauma and 2,119 individuals who sustained non-combat injuries. The most common mechanism of injury within the combat-injured cohort was blast-related trauma (59%), and 418 individuals (20%) sustained an amputation. The total costs were $156,886 for the combat-injured group compared with $55,873 for the non-combat-injured group (p < 0.001). Combat-related orthopaedic injuries were associated with a 43% increase in health-care expenditures (incidence rate ratio, 1.43 [95% confidence interval, 1.19 to 1.73]). Severe ISS at presentation, ≥2 comorbidities, and amputations were also significantly associated with health-care utilization, as was junior enlisted rank, our proxy for socioeconomic status.Conclusions:Health-care requirements and associated costs are substantial among service members sustaining combat and non-combat orthopaedic trauma. Given the sociodemographic characteristics of our cohort, we believe that these results are translatable to civilians who sustain similar types of musculoskeletal trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-871
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - 18 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Health-Care Utilization and Expenditures Associated with Long-Term Treatment after Combat and Non-Combat-Related Orthopaedic Trauma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this