Variation in in-hospital charges for colorectal cancer treatment.
The total in-hospital charges for the treatment of 1,768 colorectal cancer patients averaged $17,800 across the United States in 1995. The Pacific area charge (driven by that in California) led all nine regions with an average 17 percent above the national norm and 37 percent higher than the lowest average charge in the East South Central area. Among states, the average totals varied by as much as 94 percent, however--Illinois and California had the highest charges (33 and 29 percent, respectively, above the U.S. average) and Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin the lowest (each more than 20 percent below the norm). Over three-fourths of the total charge was attributed to the hospital portion of the bill and this proportion varied from 69 percent in Ohio to over 86 percent in Minnesota. Physician charges averaged just under $4,000 across the country and ranged from $5,120 in New York to less than half this amount in Iowa ($2,410). The length of hospital stay averaged 8.8 days with fairly wide variation evident among study states. Patients were hospitalized for almost 11 days in Indiana, Tennessee and New York while for only 6.7 days in Colorado. The per diem charge was the highest in California ($2,875, 42 percent higher than the average) and lowest in Ohio ($1,386, 31 percent below the norm).