gms | German Medical Science

54. Jahrestagung der Norddeutschen Orthopädenvereinigung e. V.

Norddeutsche Orthopädenvereinigung

16.06. bis 18.06.2005, Hamburg

Coding and reimbursement for spine surgery procedures under the German DRG system

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author M. Ahrens - Klinikum Neustadt, Klinik für Wirbelsäulenchirurgie mit Skoliosezentrum, Neustadt
  • J. Wilde - Neustadt
  • H. Halm - Neustadt

Norddeutsche Orthopädenvereinigung. 54. Jahrestagung der Norddeutschen Orthopädenvereinigung e.V.. Hamburg, 16.-18.06.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05novEP41

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Veröffentlicht: 13. Juni 2005

© 2005 Ahrens et al.
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The coding for spine surgery in the new DRG-System (diagnosis related groups) is currently under intense renovation in Germany to indemnify an appropriate reimbursement. A task force "DRG initiative for spine surgery" was formed, by several spine surgeons from different specialities as orthopedics, traumatology, neurosurgery and cooperation with deputies from the industry (BVMed).

Material and methods

Several new procedural Codes (OPS) and their allocation to appropriate DRG groups, as well as splitting existing DRG Groups had been applied for. The purpose was, to adequately represent the segmental composition of the spine - an expensive core concept of spine surgery. Two workshops and several personal meetings were conducted since 2003. The new options of the internet were used to install a forum to discuss the needed changes and lead to integrated agreements.


Several new OPS codes were accepted by the central agency DIMDI to reflect the intense technical innovations in spine surgery. Furthermore and of great importance, is the special situation of a segmental organ. Special codes were accepted which separates procedures by the amount of operated spine levels.


In the intense efforts of US spine surgeons, to cope with their DRG System, they coined the term "coding is a team sport". Beside some good results, much more need to be done to come to the same conclusion and to render the terms "Case manager" and "Coding Aid" to a native vocabulary in Germany.