Authors: Urban RR, He H, Alfonso R, Hardesty MM, Goff BA
Title: The end of life costs for Medicare patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
Journal: Gynecol Oncol 148(2):336-341
Date: 2018 Feb
PubMed ID: 29208368
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To describe the Medicare payments at the end of life for patients with advanced ovarian cancer, and assess factors responsible for payment variation METHODS: Using the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database, we identified a cohort of women with stage III/IV epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 2007. We defined the end of life as the last 90days prior to death. Total medical costs were estimated from overall Medicare payments, and adjusted for geography and for inflation to the 2009 U.S. dollar. A generalized linear regression was performed to assess factors associated with variability in cost. RESULTS: Of 5509 patients, 78.9% died from ovarian cancer. In the 90days prior to death, 65.2% of patients had an inpatient admission, 53.7% received chemotherapy, 19.3% had a palliative procedure, and 62.5% had hospice services. The mean total payment per patient in the last 90days of life was $24,073 (range 0-$484,119) over the study time period. The mean cost of inpatient admissions was $14,529 (range 0-$483,932). On a multivariate analysis, costs at the end of life did not vary based on length of patient survival (p=0.77). Factors associated with significantly increased costs in the last 90days of life were medical comorbidity, chemotherapy, time spent as an inpatient, and admissions associated with emergency room visits. CONCLUSIONS: Reducing the prescription of chemotherapy and increasing the use of hospice services for ovarian cancer patients at the end of life will aid in lowering costs.