6 Scopus citations


Background: Multiple stakeholders have advocated for minimum volume standards for complex surgical procedures. The Leapfrog Group recommends that patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receive surgical resection at hospitals that perform at least 40 lung resections annually. However, the cost-effectiveness of this paradigm is unknown. Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed on 90-day and 5-year horizons for patients with clinical stage I NSCLC undergoing surgical resection at hospitals stratified by Leapfrog standard. Model inputs were derived from either the literature or a propensity score–matched cohort using the National Cancer Database. For the 5-year horizon, we simulated using a Markov model with 1-year cycle. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated to evaluate cost-effectiveness. Results: For the 90-day horizon, resection at a Leapfrog hospital was more costly ($25 567 vs $25 530) but had greater utility (0.185 vs 0.181 quality-adjusted life-years), resulting in an ICER of 10 506. Similarly, for the 5-year horizon, resection at a Leapfrog hospital was more costly ($26 600 vs $26 495) but more effective (3.216 vs 3.122 quality-adjusted life-years), resulting in an ICER of 1108. When the costs for long-distance travel, lodging, and loss of productivity for caregivers were factored in, the ICER was 20 499 during the 5-year horizon for resection at Leapfrog hospitals. Using a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50 000, resection at a Leapfrog hospital remained cost-effective. Conclusions: Receiving surgery for clinical stage I NSCLC at hospitals that meet Leapfrog volume standards is cost-effective. Payers and policymakers should consider supporting patient and caregiver travel to higher volume institutions for lung cancer surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2001-2007
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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