UF College of Medicine’s department of orthopedics and rehabilitation redesigned a program to lower costs of joint replacement surgery like knee and hip replacement surgeries.

Chancellor Gray, lead author of the redesign study and an assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation, said a pilot of the new joint-replacement program began in 2015.

Gray said the redesign was meant to match a 2015 budget program enacted by the Affordable Care Act.

The average cost of a joint replacement under Medicare is $25,000, but after the program redesign, patients would save about 20 percent on the cost of surgery, Gray said.

“Right now there’s a lot of attention on how to modify the way that Medicare pays for hip and knee replacements,” he said.

The redesign study, published in the March issue of Arthroplasty Today, began collecting joint replacement patient data in 2016, Gray said. It did not cost anything to redesign the program.

Andrew Duncan, executive director of the UF department of orthopedics and rehabilitation, said the program’s “service-line approach” to joint replacements, in which there is a specialist for each stage of the surgery, helped improve care.

In addition to lowering costs, Duncan said the redesign improved the value of care, reduced postoperative complications, reduced emergency room revisits and decreased the length of stay.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re done by any means,” he said. “In fact, we’ve just begun.”