Relationship Between Cancer Center Accreditation and Performance on Publicly Reported Quality Measures

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To evaluate differences in hospital structural quality characteristics and assess the association between national publicly reported quality indicators and cancer center accreditation status.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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