Patients with bone metastasis secondary to prostate or breast cancer or multiple myeloma are predisposed to skeletal-related events (SREs), such as surgery or radiation to the bone, pathologic fracture, and spinal cord compression. Inpatient costs of these and other SREs represent an estimated 49%-59% of total costs related to SREs. However, information on payer costs for hospitalizations associated with SREs is limited, especially for costs associated with specific SREs by tumor type.
To examine costs from a payer perspective for SRE-associated hospitalizations among patients with multiple myeloma or bone metastasis secondary to prostate or breast cancer.
Patients with SRE hospitalizations were selected from the MarketScan commercial and Medicare databases (January 1, 2003, through June 30, 2009). Sampled patients had at least 2 medical claims with primary or secondary ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes for prostate cancer, breast cancer, or multiple myeloma and at least 1 subsequent hospitalization with principal diagnosis or procedure codes indicating bone surgery, pathologic fracture, or spinal cord compression. For patients with prostate cancer or breast cancer, a diagnosis code for bone metastasis was also required. If secondary diagnoses or procedure codes for SREs were present in the claim, they were used to more precisely identify the type of SRE for which the patient was treated, resulting in 3 mutually exclusive categories: spinal cord compression with or without pathologic fracture and/or surgery to the bone; pathologic fracture with or without surgery to the bone; and only surgery to the bone. Related readmissions within 30 days of a previous SRE-associated hospitalization date of discharge were excluded to minimize the risk of underestimating costs. Mean health plan payments per hospitalization, measured as net reimbursed amounts paid by the health plan to a hospital after subtracting patient copayments and deductibles, were analyzed by cancer type and type of SRE.
A total of 555 patients contributed 572 hospitalizations that met the study criteria for prostate cancer, 1,413 patients contributed 1,542 hospitalizations for breast cancer, and 1,361 patients contributed 1,495 hospitalizations for multiple myeloma. The mean age range was 61 to 72 years, and the mean length of stay per admission was 5.9 to 11.6 days across the 3 tumor types. The ranges of mean health plan payment per hospital admission across tumor types were $43,691-$59,854 for spinal cord compression, with or without pathologic fracture and/or surgery to the bone; $22,390-$26,936 for pathologic fracture without spinal cord compression, with or without surgery to the bone; and $31,016-$42,094 for surgery to the bone without pathologic fracture or spinal cord compression.
The inpatient costs associated with treating SREs are significant from a payer perspective. Our study used a systematic process for patient selection and mutually exclusive categorization by SRE type and provides a per episode estimate of the inpatient financial impact of cancer related SREs assessed in this study from a third-party payer perspective.