Product recalls are not uncommon in America. Most often you hear it related to automobiles – a part is giving out, or is faulty and needs to be replaced. It’s an inconvenience to bring your car back in for a day, but (aside from finding a ride) isn’t a major issue.
But what if it isn’t a car – and rather medical devices that need to be recalled? This was the question faced by thousands of patients recently, when the medical device company Zimmer Persona had to recall over 11,000 knee replacements – not pieces of equipment waiting in supply closets, but parts which had already been used to replace thousands of knees across 25 different states.
Unfortunately, knee and hip replacement recalls are not nearly as simple as cars. Revision surgeries need to be performed – which (among other things) means a hospital stay, anesthesia, time taken off work, and most likely additional rehab.
Knee replacement recalls: the ugly truth
You might expect the recalling company to pay for these associated costs… but believe it or not, this is not always the case. While the issuing company typically covers the part itself being replaced – the additional costs of hospital stay, surgery, and rehab fall most often to insurance companies. And in many cases (where the out-of-pocket maximum is higher than the cost of the revision surgery), the expense falls directly to the patient.
To make matters worse, even with good insurance coverage it is not unusual for insurance companies to refuse to pay for this mandatory replacement. This leaves the entire financial responsibility to the patient – in other words, forcing them to pay up front and attempt to recoup their losses directly from the manufacturer. Not only can this process take months to complete, it may not even end up covering all expenses in the end.
The bright side
This is bleak news for anyone considering a knee replacement. But there is a bright side – while knee replacement surgeries will eventually be necessary for many people, it is not the only option available to treat chronic and recurrent knee pain. There are an abundance of non-surgical treatment options for those suffering from knee pain or previous knee injuries.
Give us a call today to schedule an evaluation and find out if you’re a candidate.