Using Prostate Cancer to Study Whether Payment Rates and Market Structure Influence Treatment Choice for Medicare Beneficiaries

The researchers assessed whether Medicare payment rates and health care market structure influence the initial treatment received by newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients. Using SEER-Medicare linked data and Machine Learning methodology, the researchers tested how the cost and choice of treatment are affected by (1) Medicare payment rates for competing treatment options, (2) the extent of competition among specialists, (3) the ownership type of the cancer treatment facility, and (4) the introduction of new treatment options in local markets. The goal of this project was to help inform Medicare reform, including payment policy.