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Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2010 Dec;13(4):307-10. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2010.34. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

Comparison of urologist reimbursement for managing patients with low-risk prostate cancer by active surveillance versus total prostatectomy.

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Department of Urology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33101, USA.


Active surveillance (AS) is an alternative to total prostatectomy (TP) in managing low-risk prostate cancer (PC). Our aim is to compare urologist reimbursement for managing low-risk PC by AS or TP. The urologist's reimbursement for TP includes the fee for the procedure and follow-up visits. For AS, our protocol involves digital rectal examination (DRE) and PSA testing every 3 months for first 2 years and every 6 months thereafter. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsies are performed yearly. Some urologists recommend spacing the biopsies by 1-3 years. Medicare reimbursement values were used. The urologist reimbursements for a follow-up visit, prostate biopsy, open TP and robotic TP are $72, $595, $1905 and $2939, respectively. We also corrected for a 15% chance of having TP after being on AS. The cumulative reimbursements from open TP and following the patient up to 10 years are approximately $2121 (1 year), $2265 (2 years), $2697 (5 years) and $3057 (10 years). For robotic TP, the urologist reimbursements are $3155 (1 year), $3259 (2 years), $3731 (5 years) and $4091 (10 years). For AS, the urologist reimbursements are $883 (1 year), $1766 (2 years), $4269 (5 years) and $7964 (10 years). The urologist reimbursement from AS and TP become nearly equal between 3 and 4 years follow-up, subsequently AS attains higher reimbursement.

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