Eric Tai, MD
In a study of 2012 data, Eric Tai, MD, of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues estimated that average costs per hospital stay for cancer-related neutropenia or fever were approximately $25,000, with a total cost of more than $2.7 billion. Their study was published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.
The study involved data from the 2012 National Inpatient Sample and Kids’ Inpatient Database. Hospitalizations for cancer-related neutropenia were defined as those with a primary or secondary diagnosis of cancer and a diagnosis of neutropenia or fever of unknown origin. Total hospital charges were converted to costs using Healthcare Costs and Utilization Project cost-to-charge ratios based on hospital accounting reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Among patients aged ≥ 18 years and those aged < 18 years, there were 91,560 and 16,859 cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations, respectively. The total costs of the hospitalizations were $2.3 billion for adults and $439 million for pediatric patients. Overall, the hospitalizations accounted for 5.2% of all cancer-related hospitalizations and 8.3% of all cancer-related hospitalization costs. Mean lengths of stay were 9.6 days for adults, with a mean cost of $24,770 per stay, and 8.5 days for children, with a mean cost of $26,000 per stay.
The investigators concluded: “We found the costs of cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations to be substantially high. Efforts to prevent and minimize neutropenia-related complications among patients with cancer may decrease hospitalizations and associated costs.”