Head and neck cancer care is being concentrated at teaching hospitals and academic medical centers, according to a study by Elliot Abemayor, M.D., Ph.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues.

Researchers analyzed a national health care database in a study that included all inpatient admissions with a primary head and neck cancer diagnosis contained within the Nationwide Inpatient Sample during the calendar years of 2000, 2005 and 2010.

According to the results, the estimated inpatient head and neck cancer stays in the United States were 28,862 in 2000, 33,517 in 2005 and 37,354 in 2010. The percentage of admissions to teaching hospitals increased from 61.7 percent to 64.2 percent and 79.8 percent, respectively. Similarly, the percentage of cases in large-bed-size hospitals increased from 69.2 percent to 71.4 percent and 73.3 percent, respectively. The primary expected payer distribution did not change significantly over the study with Medicare, 39.6 percent; Medicaid, 17.4 percent; private insurance, 33.3 percent and other 9.7 percent.

"Head and neck oncologic care is increasingly being regionalized to teaching hospitals and academic centers. Such regionalization also has important implications for future education of residents and measures of achieved competency," the study concludes.