(HealthDay News) — Care for head and neck cancer is becoming increasingly regionalized, according to research published online Sept. 5 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Neil Bhattacharyya, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Elliot Abemayor, M.D., Ph.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, analyzed data for 2000, 2005, and 2010 from a national health care database to assess regionalization of head and neck cancer care.

The researchers observed an increase in the percentage of admissions for head and neck cancer to teaching hospitals, from 61.7% in 2000 to 64.2% in 2005 and 79.8% in 2010. A similar pattern was seen in the percentage of cases in large hospitals according to bed size, with increases from 69.2% to 71.4% and 73.3%, respectively. No significant change in the distribution of primary payers, including Medicare (39.6%), private insurance (33.3%), and Medicaid (17.4%), was observed for the calendar years examined in the study.

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“Head and neck oncologic care is increasingly being regionalized to teaching hospitals and academic centers,” the authors write. “A better understanding of how care is distributed will improve our understanding of the financial and educational impact of compacting treatment of these patients.”