Hospital volume, complications, and cost of cancer surgery in the elderly Journal Article


Authors: Nathan, H.; Atoria, C. L.; Bach, P. B.; Elkin, E. B.
Article Title: Hospital volume, complications, and cost of cancer surgery in the elderly
Abstract: Purpose: Hospital surgical volume has been shown to correlate with short-term outcomes after cancer surgery, but the relationship between volume and cost of care is unclear. We sought to characterize variation in payments for cancer surgery and assess the relationship between hospital volume and payments. Methods: Using 2000 to 2007 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results:-Medicare data, we assessed risk-adjusted 30-day episode Medicare payments for elderly patients undergoing one of six procedures for resection of cancer. Payments for the index hospitalization, readmissions, physician services, emergency room visits, and postdischarge ancillary care were analyzed, as were data on 30-day mortality and complications. Results: The analysis included 31, 191 colectomies, 2, 670 cystectomies, 1, 514 pancreatectomies, 2, 607 proctectomies, 12, 228 prostatectomies, and 10, 151 pulmonary lobectomies. There was substantial variation in cost; differences between the first and third terciles of cost varied from 27% for cystectomy to 40% for colectomy. The majority of variation (66% to 82%) was attributable to payments for the index admission rather than readmissions or physician services. There were no meaningful associations between total risk-adjusted payments and hospital volume. Surgical mortality was low, but complication rates ranged from 10% (prostatectomy) to 56% (lobectomy). Complication rates were not correlated with hospital volume, but occurrence of complications was associated with 47% to 70% higher costs. Conclusion: We found substantial variation in Medicare payments for these six cancer procedures. Cost was strongly associated with postoperative complications and primarily driven by differences in the cost of the index hospitalization. Efforts to prevent and cost-effectively manage complications are more likely to reduce costs than volume-based referral of cancer surgery alone.
Keywords: cancer chemotherapy; aged; cancer surgery; surgical technique; major clinical study; pancreas resection; lung lobectomy; risk assessment; postoperative complication; cost effectiveness analysis; health care cost; health service; medicare; emergency ward; length of stay; hospitalization; prostatectomy; cystectomy; comorbidity; colon resection; surgical mortality; hospital readmission; rectum resection; hospice care; association; human; male; female; article; home health agency
Journal Title: Journal of Clinical Oncology
Volume: 33
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0732-183X
Publisher: American Society of Clinical Oncology  
Date Published: 2015-01-01
Start Page: 107
End Page: 114
Language: English
DOI: 10.1200/jco.2014.57.7155
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 25422483
DOI/URL:
Notes: Export Date: 2 February 2015 -- Source: Scopus
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Citation Impact
MSK Authors
  1. Elena B Elkin
    161 Elkin
  2. Peter Bach
    250 Bach
  3. Coral Lynn Atoria
    51 Atoria
  4. Hari Nathan
    5 Nathan