To the Editor: Dr Martin and colleagues1 studied expenditures and health status in adults with back and neck problems and concluded that spine-related expenditures have increased substantially from 1997 to 2005 without evidence of improvement in self-assessed health status. The study examined national estimates of medical expenditures compiled through the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), in which diagnosis codes were retrospectively applied based on patient reporting. We have a number of concerns with this study.
Ratliff J, Hilibrand A, Vaccaro AR. Spine-Related Expenditures and Self-reported Health Status. JAMA. 2008;299(22):2627-2628. doi:10.1001/jama.299.22.2627-a