Proton Beam Therapy and Accountable Care: The Challenges Ahead
ABSTRACT PURPOSE: Proton beam therapy (PBT) centers have drawn increasing public scrutiny for their high cost. The behavior of such facilities is likely to change under the Affordable Care Act. We modeled how accountable care reform may affect the financial standing of PBT centers and their incentives to treat complex patient cases. METHODS AND MATERIALS: We used operational data and publicly listed Medicare rates to model the relationship between financial metrics for PBT center performance and case mix (defined as the percentage of complex cases, such as pediatric central nervous system tumors). Financial metrics included total daily revenues and debt coverage (daily revenues - daily debt payments). Fee-for-service (FFS) and accountable care (ACO) reimbursement scenarios were modeled. Sensitivity analyses were performed around the room time required to treat noncomplex cases: simple (30 minutes), prostate (24 minutes), and short prostate (15 minutes). Sensitivity analyses were also performed for total machine operating time (14, 16, and 18 h/d). RESULTS: Reimbursement under ACOs could reduce daily revenues in PBT centers by up to 32%. The incremental revenue gained by replacing 1 complex case with noncomplex cases was lowest for simple cases and highest for short prostate cases. ACO rates reduced this incremental incentive by 53.2% for simple cases and 41.7% for short prostate cases. To cover daily debt payments after ACO rates were imposed, 26% fewer complex patients were allowable at varying capital costs and interest rates. Only facilities with total machine operating times of 18 hours per day would cover debt payments in all scenarios. CONCLUSIONS: Debt-financed PBT centers will face steep challenges to remain financially viable after ACO implementation. Paradoxically, reduced reimbursement for noncomplex cases will require PBT centers to treat more such cases over cases for which PBT has demonstrated superior outcomes. Relative losses will be highest for those facilities focused primarily on treating noncomplex cases.
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ABSTRACT: Although in use for over 40 years, proton beam therapy for prostate cancer has only recently come under public scrutiny, due to its increased cost compared to other forms of treatment. While the last decade has seen a rapid accumulation of evidence to suggest that proton beam therapy is both safe and effective in this disease site, a rigorous comparison to other radiotherapy techniques has not yet been completed. In this review, we provide an in-depth look at the evidence both supporting and questioning proton beam therapy's future role in the treatment of prostate cancer, with emphasis on its history, physical properties, comparative clinical and cost effectiveness, advances in its delivery and future promise.Current Urology Reports 04/2013; 14(3). DOI:10.1007/s11934-013-0320-2 · 1.51 Impact Factor
Article: In Regard to Elnahal et alInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 08/2013; 86(5):812. DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.04.050 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Intensity modulated radiotherapy for stage III lung cancer has become commonplace in the United States in the absence of randomized controlled trials. We used a large, population-based database to determine which factors led to increased utilization of IMRT and to evaluate associations of IMRT with toxicities. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare records identified 3986 individuals aged 66 years or older diagnosed with stage III lung cancer between 2001 and 2007 and treated with IMRT or 3D conformal radiotherapy. Predictors of IMRT use were determined using logistic regression. Associations of IMRT use with diagnosis codes for radiation-related toxicities were evaluated with multivariate proportional hazards regression and propensity-score matching. Among the 3986 patients studied, the median age was 75 years, 54.1% were male, and 62% had IIIA disease. Two hundred and fifty seven (6.5%) patients received IMRT, with use increasing from 0.5% in 2001 to 14.7% in 2007 (P<0.001). Key predictors of IMRT delivery included increasing year of diagnosis and treatment in a freestanding center (odds ratio, 2.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.59-2.77, P<0.001); tumor size, stage, and number of radiotherapy fractions delivered were not associated with IMRT use. IMRT use was not associated with a higher burden of lung or esophagus toxicities when compared to 3DCRT. These findings suggest that practice environment strongly influenced adoption of IMRT for lung cancer. Patient and tumor factors were not significant predictors of IMRT use. Esophagus and lung toxicity rates were similar between IMRT and 3DCRT.Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 08/2013; 82(2). DOI:10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.08.015 · 3.74 Impact Factor