Relationship between cancer center accreditation and performance on publicly reported quality measures

Ryan P. Merkow*, Jeanette W. Chung, Jennifer L. Paruch, David J. Bentrem, Karl Y. Bilimoria

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To evaluate differences in hospital structural quality characteristics and assess the association between national publicly reported quality indicators and cancer center accreditation status. BACKGROUND:: Cancer center accreditation and public reporting are 2 approaches available to help guide patients with cancer to high-quality hospitals. It is unknown whether hospital performance on these measures differs by cancer accreditation. METHODS:: Data from Medicare's Hospital Compare and the American Hospital Association were merged. Hospitals were categorized into 3 mutually exclusive groups: National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers (NCI-CCs), Commission on Cancer (CoC) centers, and "nonaccredited" hospitals. Performance was assessed on the basis of structural, processes-of-care, patient-reported experiences, costs, and outcomes. RESULTS:: A total of 3563 hospitals (56 NCI-CCs, 1112 CoC centers, and 2395 nonaccredited hospitals) were eligible for analysis. Cancer centers (NCI-CCs and CoC centers) were more likely larger, higher volume teaching hospitals with additional services and specialists than nonaccredited hospitals (P < 0.001). Cancer centers performed better on 3 of 4 process measures, 8 of 10 patient-reported experience measures, and Medicare spending per beneficiary than nonaccredited hospitals. NCI-CCs performed worse than both CoC centers and nonaccredited hospitals on 8 of 10 outcome measures. Similarly, CoC centers performed worse than nonaccredited hospitals on 5 measures. For example, 35% of NCI-CCs, 13.5% of CoC centers, and 3.5% of nonaccredited hospitals were poor performers for serious complications. CONCLUSIONS:: Accredited cancer centers performed better on most process and patient experience measures but showed worse performance on most outcome measures. These discordant findings emphasize the need to focus on oncology-specific measurement strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1097
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Commission on Cancer
  • Hospital Compare
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Public reporting
  • Quality measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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