PURPOSE Health care costs are driven by a small proportion of patients, and it is important to identify their characteristics to effectively manage their health care needs. We examined characteristics associated with high-cost inpatient visits of elderly patients with cancer using a national sample. METHODS We identified 574,367 inpatient visits of individuals age 65 years or older with a cancer diagnosis using the 2014 National Inpatient Sample data, an all-payer sample of inpatient stays in the United States. High-cost visits were defined as those with a total cost at or above the 90th percentile. The remaining visits were defined as the lower-cost group. We examined patients’ clinical characteristics and hospital characteristics for both groups. Logistic regression was used to identify characteristics associated with being in the high-cost group. RESULTS The median visit cost in the high-cost group was $38,194 (interquartile range, $31,405 to $51,802), which was nearly five times the cost of the lower-cost group (median, $8,257; interquartile range, $5,032 to $13,335). Hematologic malignancies were the most common cancer in the high-cost group. Those in the high-cost group were more likely to have metastatic cancer. Compared with patients with no comorbidities, those with five or more comorbidities were four times more likely to be in the high-cost group (odds ratio, 4.08; 95% CI, 3.74 to 4.46). Patients with a greater number of procedures were also more likely to be in the high-cost group (odds ratio, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.52 to 1.61). CONCLUSION High-cost cancer visits were five times more expensive than the remaining visits. Identification of high-cost visits and the associated factors may help provide tailored strategies to effectively manage costly inpatient admissions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy