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Dermatol Surg. 2003 Jul;29(7):700-11.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer: an episode of care management approach.

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Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Center for Dermatology Research, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.



The incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) was estimated at 1.3-million cases for the year 2000 and is on the rise. It is the most common form of cancer in the United States, more common than all other cancers combined. To determine the contributors to the cost of NMSC care, an episode of care of NMSC needed to be defined.


To define and validate an episode of NMSC care.


Using survey and Medicare part A and part B claims data of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), 1992 to 1995, an algorithm was created to define an episode of care for the diagnosis and treatment of an NMSC. MCBS estimates of the number of episodes occurring in three service settings (physician's office, outpatient/ambulatory surgical center, or hospital) and demographics were compared to data from independent datasets, including the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS, 1995), the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery (NSAS, 1994 to 1996), and the National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS, 1992 to 1997).


Pathology claims for NMSC diagnosis served as the indicator of NMSC episodes. The procedures, office visits, and tests that resulted in and from the pathology specimen were identified. The sum of the associated charges to Medicare or Medicare payments for all identified claims equaled the total cost of the episode of NMSC care. For example, these preliminary results demonstrated significant differences between medical and surgical subspecialties.


This study defined and validated a model of an episode of NMSC care. This model's initial results serve as preliminary data for the design of further studies addressing the differences between specialties and settings. The use of this model will allow identification of factors that determine the cost of NMSC treatment and that are associated with higher cost of care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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