Performance Improvement 2008. What Are Costs of Cancer Registry Operations?


This study looked at the feasibility of conducting a full-scale process evaluation of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program to analyze the costs of the program's central cancer registries. SEER registries collect data on the occurrence and characteristics of reportable malignancies. The information service helps assess and control the impact of cancer on the community. The registries routinely collect data on patient demographics, primary tumor site, morphology, stage at diagnosis, first course of treatment, and follow-up for vital status. The 15 SEER cancer registries are complex organizations and each has multiple revenue sources, mixtures of funding periods, and unique internal accounting and personnel arrangements. The study clarified the questions to be answered with central registry accounting and operations data, creating a cost analysis framework based on the logic model of the program, and developing a data collection and analysis tool. All of the registries participated in developing the data collection and analysis instrument and five then conducted a pilot test whose results indicated that the cost analysis framework and data collection instrument, with additional modifications, could be used to answer basic questions to be more fully investigated later.

The proposed cost analysis framework was appropriate for future studies. All five registries derived revenues from a number of other Federal and non-Federal funding sources in addition to SEER-awarded funds and two of the five registries reported earned revenues from activities performed for the health care community. Labor costs represented between 72 and 92 percent of the total costs for the five registries, fringe benefits 8 to 14 percent and other direct costs 5 to 26 percent; indirect costs represented 3 to 41 percent of total costs. Preliminary estimates of the costs of activities that were unique to SEER registry operation suggested that 2 to16 percent of total direct costs might be associated with activities that were unique to SEER.

Report Title: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program Cost Analysis Feasibility Study. Report may be obtained from Federal Contact
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact:
Amy Garson, 301-435-5014
Performer: CSR, Inc.

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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