Authors: Williams SB, Amarasekera CA, Gu X, Lipsitz SR, Nguyen PL, Hevelone ND, Kowalczyk KJ, Hu JC
Title: Influence of surgeon and hospital volume on radical prostatectomy costs.
Journal: J Urol 188(6):2198-202
Date: 2012 Dec
Abstract: PURPOSE: While higher radical prostatectomy hospital and surgeon volume are associated with better outcomes, the effect of provider volume on health care costs remains unclear. We performed a population based study to characterize the effect of surgeon and hospital volume on radical prostatectomy costs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results)-Medicare linked data to identify 11,048 men who underwent radical prostatectomy from 2003 to 2009. We categorized hospital and surgeon radical prostatectomy volume into tertiles (low, intermediate, high) and assessed costs from radical prostatectomy until 90 days postoperatively using propensity adjusted analyses. RESULTS: Higher surgeon volume at intermediate volume hospitals (surgeon volume low $9,915; intermediate $10,068; high $9,451; p = 0.021) and high volume hospitals (surgeon volume low $11,271; intermediate $10,638; high $9,529; p = 0.002) was associated with lower radical prostatectomy costs. Extrapolating nationally, selective referral to high volume radical prostatectomy surgeons at high and intermediate volume hospitals netted more than $28.7 million in cost savings. Conversely, higher hospital volume was associated with greater radical prostatectomy costs for low volume surgeons (hospital volume low $9,685; intermediate $9,915; high $11,271; p = 0.010) and intermediate volume surgeons (hospital volume low $9,605; intermediate $10,068; high $10,638; p = 0.029). High volume radical prostatectomy surgeon costs were not affected by varying hospital volume, and among low volume hospitals radical prostatectomy costs did not differ by surgeon volume. CONCLUSIONS: Selective referral to high volume radical prostatectomy surgeons operating at intermediate and high volume hospitals nets significant cost savings. However, higher radical prostatectomy hospital volume was associated with greater costs for low and intermediate volume radical prostatectomy surgeons.