The high cost per patient of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) causes this therapy to be the focus of much controversy, given the competing societal demands to provide all possible therapy to preserve life while simultaneously limiting global health care expenditures. Treatment and eligibility decisions for HCT often are heavily scrutinized by both governmental and private payers and not simply determined by physicians, facility providers, and the patient. In an effort to control costs, payers have administrative infrastructure to review resource utilization by these patients. Additionally payers have developed payment methodologies, usually in the form of a case rate payment structure, that place facilities and physician providers of HCT at financial risk for adverse patient financial outcomes in an effort to promote optimal utilization and selection of patients for HCT. As providers enter into such financial risk arrangements with payers, the providers need to understand the true cost of care and be able to identify predictable and unpredictable outlier risks for the financial consequences of medical complications. HCT providers try to protect themselves from excessive financial risk by having different payment rates for different types of transplant, eg, autologous versus HLA or genotypically matched related versus HLA mismatched transplants. Because at certain times in the HCT process risk is more unpredictable, HCT providers require different payment system strategies for the different time periods of care such as evaluation, pre-transplant disease management, harvesting, and cell processing, as well as short- and long-term follow-up. Involvement by clinicians is essential for this process to be done well, especially given the rapid changes technological innovation brings to HCT. Constant dialogue and interaction between providers and payers on these difficult financial issues with HCT is essential to preserve patient access to this potentially lifesaving therapy.
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Managed care
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