Statewide Episode Spending Variation of Mastectomy for Breast Cancer

J Am Coll Surg. 2022 Jan 1;234(1):14-23. doi: 10.1097/XCS.0000000000000005.


Background: Centralizing complex cancer operations, such as pancreatectomy and esophagectomy, has been shown to increase value, largely due to reduction in complications. For high-volume operations with low complication rates, it is unknown to what degree value varies between facilities, or by what mechanism value may be improved. To identify possible opportunities for value enhancement for such operations, we sought to describe variations in episode spending for mastectomy with a secondary aim of identifying patient- and facility-level determinants of variation.

Study design: Using the Michigan Value Collaborative risk-adjusted, price-standardized claims data, we evaluated mean spending for patients undergoing mastectomy at 74 facilities (n = 7,342 patients) across the state of Michigan. Primary outcomes were 30- and 90-day episode spending. Using linear mixed models, facility- and patient-level factors were explored for association with spending variability.

Results: Among 7,342 women treated across 74 facilities, mean 30-day spending by facility ranged from $11,129 to $20,830 (median $14,935). Ninety-day spending ranged from $17,303 to $31,060 (median $23,744). Patient-level factors associated with greater spending included simultaneous breast reconstruction, bilateral surgery, length of stay, and readmission. Among women not undergoing reconstruction, variation persisted, and length of stay, bilateral surgery, and readmission were all associated with increased spending.

Conclusion: Michigan hospitals have significant variation in spending for mastectomy. Reducing length of stay through wider adoption of same-day discharge for mastectomy and reducing the frequency of bilateral surgery may represent opportunities to increase value, without compromising patient safety or oncologic outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Esophagectomy
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastectomy*
  • Pancreatectomy