Costly Breast Cancer Treatment More Common at For-Profit Hospitals

Older breast cancer patients who received radiation treatment after surgery were more likely to undergo a more expensive and somewhat controversial type of radiation called brachytherapy if they got their care at for-profit rather than nonprofit hospitals, a new study reports. Among the oldest group studied — women in their 80s and early 90s who are least likely to benefit from the regimen — the odds of receiving the more expensive brachytherapy were significantly higher at for-profit hospitals, the study found. The research, funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was published in the May issue of the journal Surgery. “We wanted to see whether for-profit hospitals, which arguably have a greater incentive to provide returns to their shareholders, would be more likely to adopt a higher-reimbursement therapy than a nonprofit hospital — and that’s exactly what we found,” said Dr. Cary P. Gross, a professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and the paper’s senior author.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News

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