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Oncologist. 2020 Jan;25(1):46-54. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0338. Epub 2019 Oct 14.

Use of High-Cost Cancer Treatments in Academic and Nonacademic Practice.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
2
Department of Hematology/Oncology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
3
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
4
Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
5
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
6
Department of Health Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
7
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
8
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Academic physicians, such as those affiliated with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, may have different practice patterns regarding the use of high-cost cancer drugs than nonacademic physicians.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

For this cohort study, we linked cancer registry, administrative, and demographic data for patients with newly diagnosed cancer in North Carolina from 2004 to 2011. We selected cancer types with multiple U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved, National Comprehensive Cancer Network-recommended treatment options and large differences in reimbursement between higher-priced and lower-priced options (stage IV colorectal, stage IV lung, and stage II-IV head-and-neck cancers). We assessed whether provider's practice setting-NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center ("NCI") versus other location ("non-NCI")-was associated with use of higher-cost treatment options. We used inverse probability of exposure weighting to control for patient characteristics.

RESULTS:

Of 800 eligible patients, 79.6% were treated in non-NCI settings. Patients treated in non-NCI settings were more likely to receive high-cost treatment than patients treated in NCI settings (36.0% vs. 23.2%), with an unadjusted prevalence difference of 12.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.1%-20.0%). After controlling for potential confounding factors, non-NCI patients remained more likely to receive high-cost treatment, although the strength of association was attenuated (adjusted prevalence difference, 9.6%; 95% CI -0.1%-18.7%). Exploratory analyses suggested potential heterogeneity across cancer type and insurance status.

CONCLUSION:

Use of higher-cost cancer treatments may be more common in non-NCI than NCI settings. This may reflect differential implementation of clinical evidence, local practice variation, or possibly a response to the reimbursement incentives presented by chemotherapy billing.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Oncology care delivery and practice patterns may vary between care settings. By comparing otherwise similar patients treated in National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers with those treated elsewhere, this study suggests that patients may be more likely to receive treatment with certain expensive cancer drugs if treated in the non-NCI setting. These practice differences may result in differences in patient costs and outcomes as a result of where they receive treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Antineoplastic agents; Drug therapy; Fee-for-service plans; Health services research; Medical overuse; National Cancer Institute; Practice pattern, clinical; Reimbursement, incentive

PMID:
31611329
PMCID:
PMC6964140
[Available on 2021-01-01]
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0338
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