Inadequate access to surgeons: reason for disparate cancer care?
ABSTRACT To compare the likelihood of seeing a surgeon between elderly dually eligible non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colon cancer patients and their Medicare counterparts. Surgery rates between dually eligible and Medicare patients who were evaluated by a surgeon were also assessed.
We used statewide Medicaid and Medicare data merged with the Michigan Tumor Registry to extract a sample of patients with a first primary NSCLC (n = 1100) or colon cancer (n = 2086). The study period was from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2000. We assessed the likelihood of a surgical evaluation using logistic models that included patient characteristics, tumor stage, and census tracts. Among patients evaluated by a surgeon, we used logistic regression to predict if a resection was performed.
Dually eligible patients were nearly half as likely to be evaluated by a surgeon as Medicare patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.49; 95% confidence interval = 0.32, 0.77 and odds ratio = 0.59; 95% confidence interval = 0.41, 0.86 for NSCLC and colon cancer patients, respectively). Among patients who were evaluated by a surgeon, the likelihood of resection was not statistically significantly different between dually eligible and Medicare patients.
This study suggests that dually eligible patients, in spite of having Medicaid insurance, are less likely to be evaluated by a surgeon relative to their Medicare counterparts. Policies and interventions aimed toward increasing access to specialists and complete diagnostic work-ups (eg, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy) are needed.
SourceAvailable from: Christopher S Lathan[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Implementation lessons •It is hypothesized that this delivery model can decrease wait times for diagnosis and treatment of cancer, increase awareness and knowledge of cancer prevention and treatment, and foster trust with providers and patients from vulnerable communities.•Involving oncologists in clinical diagnosis at community health centers can link specialty care more closely to vulnerable communities.•Funding for this type of clinical innovation is currently limited to institutional and philanthropic sources. A shift in the academic and public sector funding paradigms may be required to enable implementation on a broader level.12/2013; 1(s 3–4):123–129. DOI:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2013.09.004
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ABSTRACT: Medicare beneficiaries with cancer bear a greater portion of their health care costs, because cancer treatment costs have increased. Beneficiaries have supplemental insurance to reduce out-of-pocket costs; those without supplemental insurance may face barriers to care. This study examines the association between type of supplemental insurance coverage and receipt of chemotherapy among Medicare patients with cancer who, per National Comprehensive Cancer Network treatment guidelines, should generally receive chemotherapy. This retrospective, observational study included 1,200 Medicare patients diagnosed with incident cancer of the breast (stage IIB to III), colon (stage III), rectum (stage II to III), lung (stage II to IV), or ovary (stage II to IV) from 2000 to 2005. Using the National Cancer Institute Patterns of Care Studies and linked SEER-Medicare data, we determined each Medicare patient's supplemental insurance status (private insurance, dual eligible [ie, Medicare with Medicaid], or no supplemental insurance), consultation with an oncologist, and receipt of chemotherapy. Using adjusted logistic regression, we evaluated the association of type of supplemental insurance with oncologist consultation and receipt of chemotherapy. Dual-eligible patients were significantly less likely to receive chemotherapy than were Medicare patients with private insurance. Patients with Medicare only who saw an oncologist had comparable rates of chemotherapy compared with Medicare patients with private insurance. Dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries received recommended cancer chemotherapy less frequently than other Medicare beneficiaries. With the increasing number of Medicaid patients under the Affordable Care Act, there will be a need for patient navigators and sufficient physician reimbursement so that low-income patients with cancer will have access to oncologists and needed treatment. © 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.Journal of Clinical Oncology 12/2014; 33(4). DOI:10.1200/JCO.2014.55.3107 · 17.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: PURPOSEPrior studies report that half of patients with lung cancer do not receive guideline-concordant care. With data from a national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) study on quality of care, we sought to determine what proportion of patients refused or had a contraindication to recommended lung cancer therapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS Through medical record abstraction, we evaluated adherence to six quality indicators addressing lung cancer-directed therapy for patients diagnosed within the VHA during 2007 and calculated the proportion of patients receiving, refusing, or having contraindications to recommended treatment.ResultsMean age of the predominantly male population was 67.7 years (standard deviation, 9.4 years), and 15% were black. Adherence to quality indicators ranged from 81% for adjuvant chemotherapy to 98% for curative resection; however, many patients met quality indicator criteria without actually receiving recommended therapy by having a refusal (0% to 14%) or contraindication (1% to 30%) documented. Less than 1% of patients refused palliative chemotherapy. Black patients were more likely to refuse or bear a contraindication to surgery even when controlling for comorbidity; race was not associated with refusals or contraindications to other treatments. CONCLUSION Refusals and contraindications are common and may account for previously demonstrated low rates of recommended lung cancer therapy performance at the VHA. Racial disparities in treatment may be explained, in part, by such factors. These results sound a cautionary note for quality measurement that depends on data that do not reflect patient preference or contraindications in conditions where such considerations are important.Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2013; 31(21). DOI:10.1200/JCO.2012.45.7473 · 17.88 Impact Factor