The finite resources available for health care and the proliferation of managed care in the United States have forced the head and neck surgeon to critically evaluate the cost of tumor treatment.
To determine whether the cost of treating patients with head and neck tumors would be reduced if the patients were to spend a portion of what would otherwise be acute care hospital days in a hospital-based skilled nursing facility (HB/SNF).
Retrospective cost-benefit analysis.
Tertiary referral center.
Twenty-four consecutive hospital admissions for definitive surgical treatment of head and neck tumors were retrospectively reviewed. The postoperative day on which the patient theoretically could have been transferred to the HB/SNF was determined. The charges and cost of each patient's actual hospital stay were compared with the theoretical counterparts had the patient been transferred to the HB/SNF on the determined day.
Main Outcome Measure
The total hospital stay for the 24 patients was 524 days. One hundred eighty-two of those days could have been spent in the HB/SNF. The total charge and cost savings with the use of an HB/SNF were $201 045 and $84 238, respectively (15% of the total charge and cost). This represents an average charge and cost savings of $8377 and $3510, respectively, per patient. The difference was statistically significant (P<.005).
An HB/SNF could reduce the cost of head and neck tumor treatment without compromising patient care.