Cost Considerations for Chemotherapy Administration

Hospital administration of chemotherapy may increase drug spending.

The administering of infused chemotherapy is increasingly shifting from physician offices to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and is associated with increased spending on chemotherapy services for commercial insurers, according to a research letter in JAMA Oncology.

The impact of price variation depending on site of care can be seen in healthcare spending. While patients may receive the same treatment in a physician’s office or HOPD, insurers typically reimburse payments to HOPDs at a higher rate than to physician officers. "Hospitals justify this payment difference because they incur higher overhead costs and treat more medically complex patient populations,” wrote the authors of the research letter.

As some argue that the value of the service provided, rather than the overhead expenses, should determines prices, the authors assessed trends in the use of and spending for infused cancer chemotherapy in physician office versus HOPD settings.

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