New research suggests a lack of price transparency for 5 common cancer surgeries. 

Researchers found that roughly half of hospitals accredited by the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer (ACS-CoC) failed to disclose the cost of all 5 surgeries.  

These findings were published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.


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Researchers studied 1075 ACS-CoC accredited hospitals, looking at price disclosures for mastectomy, lobectomy, partial colectomy, prostatectomy, and wide local excision for cutaneous melanoma. 

Overall, 50.6% of hospitals did not disclose the prices for any of the 5 procedures, but 29.1% of hospitals disclosed the prices for all 5 procedures. 

Rates of price disclosure did not differ by hospital size but differed significantly across accreditation types, ownership, and overall Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services star rating (P <.05 for all).

Price nondisclosure was more likely for Comprehensive Community Cancer Programs (incident rate ratio [IRR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.01-1.54; P =.039) and Community Cancer Programs (IRR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.16-1.92; P =.002) but less likely for teaching hospitals (IRR, 0.815; 95% CI, 0.711-0.933; P =.003).

Price nondisclosure was associated with higher hospital margins (0.44% vs -2.03%; P =.005), higher cost markups (5.15 vs 4.53; P <.001), and higher occupancy rates (65.3% vs 63.2%; P =.03). 

For every 1-point increase in cost markup, there was a 4.8% increase in the likelihood of not disclosing surgical pricing (P <.001).

“We found that, despite ACS-CoC accreditation, more than half of the cancer centers did not disclose prices for 5 common oncologic procedures, which are often elective and shoppable for patients,” the researchers wrote. “These findings can help drive the momentum for value-based strategies as we create cost-conscious health systems.”

Reference

Zhang Y, Cerullo M, Esposito A, Golla V. Association between cancer center accreditation and compliance with price disclosure of common oncologic surgical proceduresJ Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2022;20(11):1215-1222.e1. doi:10.6004/jnccn.2022.7057