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Keywords:

  • colorectal cancer;
  • cancer screening programs;
  • clinical costs;
  • nonclinical costs;
  • cost assessment

BACKGROUND

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiated the Colorectal Cancer Screening Demonstration Program (CRCSDP) to explore the feasibility of establishing a large-scale colorectal cancer screening program for underserved populations in the United States. The authors of the current report provide a detailed description of the total program costs (clinical and nonclinical) incurred during both the start-up and service delivery (screening) phases of the 4-year program.

METHODS

Tailored cost questionnaires were completed by staff at the 5 CRCSDP sites. Cost data were collected for clinical services and nonclinical programmatic activities (program management, data collection, and tracking, etc). In-kind contributions also were measured and were assigned monetary values.

RESULTS

Nearly $11.3 million was expended by the 5 sites over 4 years, and 71% was provided by the CDC. The proportion of funding spent on clinical service delivery and service delivery/patient support comprised the largest proportion of cost during the implementation phase (years 2-4). The per-person nonclinical cost comprised a substantial portion of total costs for all sites. The cost per person screened varied across the 5 sites and by screening method. Overall, economies of scale were observed, with lower costs resulting from larger numbers of individuals screened.

CONCLUSIONS

Programs incur substantial variable costs related to clinical services and semivariable costs related to nonclinical services. Therefore, programs that serve large populations are likely to achieve a lower cost per person. Cancer 2013;119(15 suppl):2855–62. © 2013 American Cancer Society.