No Links Between Medicare Spending for Advanced Cancer and Survival Rates
March 13—Substantial regional variation in Medicare spending for patients with advanced cancer is not linked to differences in survival, according to a study published online by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers found that advanced cancer spending varied by up to 41 percent between high- and low-spending regions. Despite this substantial spending variation, no direct link between regional spending and advanced cancer survival appeared. Higher spending was strongly linked with more frequent and longer hospital visits.
The findings suggest that healthcare providers should be incentivized to develop strategies aimed at reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations and increasing timely access to palliative care for patients with advanced cancer—goals that are consistent with patient-centered care, the researchers said.
Publication Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013