The researchers analyzed the costs of ERCP in a university hospital and reported their findings in February's Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Cost calculations were based on a prospective registration of materials, labor time, and equipment needed to perform 204 ERCPs in a tertiary care center.
The team found that annual fixed cost related to the organization of the ERCP-unit amounted to (US)$136,213. Variable costs per procedure, including labor and material costs, amounted to $344 and $961 for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, respectively. Average reimbursement was $221.
|Total costs per ERCP procedure:|
Average reimbursement per procedure was $221
In the researchers' institution, 900 ERCPs are conducted annually. The ratio of diagnostic versus therapeutic procedures is 35 to 65, which amounts to a net yearly loss of $608,038.
The authors calculated that theoretical measures to decrease costs could reduce the loss to $394,798, with an average loss of $439 per procedure.
From the analysis of costs related to performance of ERCPs, the group concluded that the procedure is not sufficiently reimbursed.
Dr Werner Van Steenbergen said on behalf of the researchers, "From our model, it appears that increasing the reimbursement rate for therapeutic procedures to $600 per procedure would generate a net positive balance."