Significant changes in Medicare reimbursement for outpatient oncology services were proposed as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. The purpose of this study was to identify the “true cost” associated with drug-related handling for the preparation and delivery of chemotherapy doses to estimate the impact of changing reimbursement schema by Medicare. Two academic medical outpatient infusion centers and 2 community cancer centers provided data used to estimate all costs (excluding drug cost) associated with the preparation of chemotherapy doses. The data included both fixed costs (drug storage, space, equipment, and information resources) and variable costs (insurance management, inventory, waste management, pharmacy staff payroll, supplies, and shipping). The average cost for the preparation of chemotherapy doses across all sites was $34.27 (range, $32.08–$41.23). A time-and-motion study was also performed to determine what tasks were conducted by pharmacy staff and how much time was spent in the preparation of the top 15 chemotherapeutic drugs and regimens used in the 4 sites. Data from the 4 centers was projected to show that if 3,990,495 million chemotherapy infusions were administered to a national Medicare population in 2003, when multiplied by the average cost of preparation for infusions determined by the current study ($34.27), the estimated total annual cost to Medicare for chemotherapy preparation by pharmacists is $136,754,263.65. The pharmacists spent most of their days (90% or more) performing tasks directly related to the preparation of these agents. These data provide scientific support for the consideration of appropriate reimbursement for chemotherapy services provided by pharmacists to Medicare beneficiaries.
Diana I. Brixner, Gary M. Oderda, Nancy A. Nickman, Roy Beveridge and James A. Jorgenson
Kuan-Ling Kuo, David Stenehjem, Frederick Albright, Saurabh Ray and Diana Brixner
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the survival and treatment patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) stratified by the NCCN stage–guided treatment categories in the absence of a universally accepted staging system for HCC. Methods: Patients with HCC were identified using ICD-9 codes and inclusion in the Huntsman Cancer Institute tumor registry. Patients were stratified by the NCCN groupings around the time of diagnosis as potentially resectable or operable (RESECT), potentially transplantable (TRANSP), unresectable (UNRESECT), inoperable due to performance status (INOPER), or having metastatic (METAST) disease. Survival and treatment patterns were assessed by NCCN stage–guided treatment categories. Results: A total of 221 patients (72.9% men) with HCC were identified. At the time of diagnosis, patients were categorized as RESECT (n=28, 12.7%), TRANSP (n=33, 14.9%), UNRESECT (n=77, 34.8%), INOPER (n=40, 18.1%), and METAST (n=38, 17.2%). Staging information was not specified for 5 patients (2.3%) even after chart review. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated significant differences in survival between RESECT and UNRESECT categories, and between UNRESECT and METAST categories. The median survivals in RESECT, TRANSP, UNRESECT, INOPER, and METAST categories were 594, 562, 247, 167, and 44 days, respectively. Patients considered RESECT most frequently underwent resection (61%, n=17) and patients considered TRANSP had the highest use of liver transplants (33.3%, n=11). Use of any treatment was low in the METAST (31.6%, n=12) and INOPER (60.0%, n=24) groups. Conclusions: Treatment patterns in the NCCN groupings correlated with recommended treatment strategies. Overall, the NCCN groupings have a linear relationship in overall survival.
David D. Stenehjem, Frederick Albright, Kuan-Ling Kuo, Karina Raimundo, Hillevi Bauer, Paul J. Shami, Michael W. Deininger, Lei Chen and Diana I. Brixner
Retrospective review of imatinib monitoring through electronic health records (EHR) can provide valuable insight into the current management of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This study retrospectively reviewed EHRs from 2001 to 2010 of patients with chronic phase CML (CP-CML) treated with first-line imatinib. Chart evaluations included a review of cytogenetic and molecular testing, overall survival, adverse drug events (ADEs), and therapy modifications. A total of 54 patients with CP-CML were treated with first-line imatinib and had either cytogenetic or molecular testing within 18 months of imatinib initiation. Within the first 18 months of treatment, 33 of 45 patients (73%) undergoing cytogenetic testing experienced a complete cytogenetic response (median, 241 days; range, 110-542 days) and 24 of 48 patients (50%) receiving molecular testing achieved at least a major molecular response (median, 253 days; range, 99-546 days). The average number of cytogenetic and molecular tests conducted within the first 18 months was 2.5 and 3.8, respectively. Nineteen of 54 (35%) had a dose increase of imatinib (>400 mg; median, 329 days; range, 21-1968 days). The 5-year estimated overall survival rate was 88.5%. Between 2006 and 2010 (n=30; 56%), 7 patients (23%) transitioned to dasatinib or nilotinib (median, 399 days from diagnosis; range, 180-1046 days) because of suboptimal response or treatment failure (n=5) and imatinib ADEs (n=2). Forty-six imatinib-associated ADEs occurred in 31 patients (57%), of which 10 (32%) received dose reductions (median, 52 days) and 6 (19%) had discontinuations (median, 139 days). Closely monitored patients with CML treated with imatinib at an NCCN Member Institution experienced outcomes comparable to those reported in key clinical trials.