Cost disparity between health care systems - It's not the surgeons: A cost analysis of thyroid cancer care between the United States and France

Brendan M. Finnerty, Laurent Brunaud, Eric Mirallie, Caitlin McIntyre, Anna Aronova, Thomas J. Fahey, Rasa Zarnegar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background The cost disparity between the United States and other advanced health care systems, including France, is expanding. In this report we identified the management of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) that contribute to reimbursement disparity. Methods A tri-institutional, retrospective review included 200 patients with PTC (100 from the United States, 100 from France) treated by total thyroidectomy with/without central neck dissection. A cost model was generated incorporating perioperative management variables (within 1 year) and their reimbursement rates according to the 2014 US Medicare and French government fee-schedules. Results In the United States, total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection was more frequent (92% vs 35%, P <.001), median duration of stay was less (1 vs 3 days, P <.001), and use of radioactive iodine was less (66% vs 93%, P <.001), although Thyrogen stimulation was more prevalent (100% vs 43%, P <.001). Overall, the median cost per patient was greater in the United States ($14,069 vs $4,590, P <.001). Reimbursements to the hospital facility accounted for 70% of the disparity, despite lesser durations of stay. Nuclear medicine accounted for 19%, mostly from Thyrogen reimbursement despite less use of radioactive iodine. Surgeon fees accounted for 6%, followed by office visits, laboratory/imaging, anesthesia/pathology fees, and medications. Conclusion The costs of management of PTC are substantially greater in the US compared with France. Efforts to decrease this disparity should focus on reimbursements for hospital facility and use of nuclear medicine imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-141
Number of pages10
JournalSurgery (United States)
Volume159
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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