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Guideline Discordance and Patient Cost Responsibility in Medicare Beneficiaries With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Courtney P. Williams, Andres Azuero, Kelly M. Kenzik, Maria Pisu, Ryan D. Nipp, Smita Bhatia, and Gabrielle B. Rocque

Background: Treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that is not concordant with the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer has been associated with higher healthcare utilization and payer costs. However, a significant knowledge gap exists regarding the impact of guideline-discordant care on patient cost responsibility. This study examined this question among patients with MBC in the year postdiagnosis. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used data from the SEER-Medicare linked database from 2000 through 2013. Guideline discordance, defined by year-specific NCCN Guidelines, was assessed for first-line antineoplastic treatment and grouped into discrete categories. Patient cost responsibility (deductibles, coinsurance, copayments) in women with MBC were summed for all medical care received in the year postdiagnosis. The difference in patient cost responsibility by guideline discordance status was estimated using linear mixed-effect models. Results: Of 3,709 patients with MBC surviving at least 1 year postdiagnosis, 17.6% (n=651) received guideline-discordant treatment. Median cost responsibility in the year postdiagnosis for patients receiving guideline-discordant treatment was $7,421 (interquartile range [IQR], $4,359–$12,983) versus $5,171 (IQR, $3,006–$8,483) for those receiving guideline-concordant care. In adjusted models, guideline-discordant treatment was significantly associated with $1,841 higher patient costs in the first year from index diagnosis date (95% CI, $1,280–$2,401) compared with guideline-concordant care. Patient cost responsibility differed by category of guideline discordance, with those receiving nonapproved bevacizumab having the highest cost responsibility (β=$3,330; 95% CI, $1,711–$4,948). Conclusions: Deviations from current treatment guidelines may have implications on patient healthcare cost responsibility. Additional research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying how guideline deviation leads to greater costs for patients with MBC.

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Healthcare Access Dimensions and Guideline-Concordant Ovarian Cancer Treatment: SEER-Medicare Analysis of the ORCHiD Study

Mary Katherine Montes de Oca, Lauren E. Wilson, Rebecca A. Previs, Anjali Gupta, Ashwini Joshi, Bin Huang, Maria Pisu, Margaret Liang, Kevin C. Ward, Maria J. Schymura, Andrew Berchuck, and Tomi F. Akinyemiju

Background: Racial disparities exist in receipt of guideline-concordant treatment of ovarian cancer (OC). However, few studies have evaluated how various dimensions of healthcare access (HCA) contribute to these disparities. Methods: We analyzed data from non-Hispanic (NH)–Black, Hispanic, and NH-White patients with OC diagnosed in 2008 to 2015 from the SEER-Medicare database and defined HCA dimensions as affordability, availability, and accessibility, measured as aggregate scores created with factor analysis. Receipt of guideline-concordant OC surgery and chemotherapy was defined based on the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer. Multivariable-adjusted modified Poisson regression models were used to assess the relative risk (RR) for guideline-concordant treatment in relation to HCA. Results: The study cohort included 5,632 patients: 6% NH-Black, 6% Hispanic, and 88% NH-White. Only 23.8% of NH-White patients received guideline-concordant surgery and the full cycles of chemotherapy versus 14.2% of NH-Black patients. Higher affordability (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01–1.08) and availability (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.10) were associated with receipt of guideline-concordant surgery, whereas higher affordability was associated with initiation of systemic therapy (hazard ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05–1.13). After adjusting for all 3 HCA scores and demographic and clinical characteristics, NH-Black patients remained less likely than NH-White patients to initiate systemic therapy (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75–0.99). Conclusions: Multiple HCA dimensions predict receipt of guideline-concordant treatment but do not fully explain racial disparities among patients with OC. Acceptability and accommodation are 2 additional HCA dimensions which may be critical to addressing these disparities.

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Impact of Nonconcordance With NCCN Guidelines on Resource Utilization, Cost, and Mortality in De Novo Metastatic Breast Cancer

Gabrielle B. Rocque, Courtney P. Williams, Bradford E. Jackson, Stacey A. Ingram, Karian I. Halilova, Maria Pisu, Kelly M. Kenzik, Andres Azuero, Andres Forero, and Smita Bhatia

Background: The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) have directed the care of patients with cancer for >20 years. Payers are implementing guideline-based pathway programs that restrict reimbursement for non–guideline-based care to control costs, yet evidence regarding impact of guidelines on outcomes, including mortality, Medicare costs, and healthcare utilization, is limited. Patients and Methods: This analysis evaluated concordance of first treatment with NCCN Guidelines for women with de novo stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC) included within the SEER-Medicare linked database and diagnosed between 2007 and 2013. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association between mortality and guideline concordance. Linear mixed-effects and generalized linear models were used to evaluate total cost to Medicare and rates of healthcare utilization by concordance status. Results: We found that 19% of patients (188/988) with de novo MBC received nonconcordant treatment. Patients receiving nonconcordant treatment were more likely to be younger and have hormone receptor–negative and HER2-positive MBC. The most common category of nonconcordant treatment was use of adjuvant regimens in the metastatic setting (40%). Adjusted mortality risk was similar for patients receiving concordant and nonconcordant treatments (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% confidence limit [CL], 0.69, 1.05). When considering category of nonconcordance, patients receiving adjuvant regimens in the metastatic setting had a decreased risk of mortality (HR, 0.60; 95% CL, 0.43, 0.84). Nonconcordant treatments were associated with $1,867 higher average Medicare costs per month compared with concordant treatments (95% CL, $918, $2,817). Single-agent HER2-targeted therapy was the highest costing category of nonconcordance at $3,008 (95% CL, $1,014, $5,001). Healthcare utilization rates were similar for patients receiving concordant and nonconcordant treatments. Conclusions: Despite a lack of survival benefit, concordant care was associated with lower costs, suggesting potential benefit to increasing standardization of care. These findings may influence policy decisions regarding implementation of pathway programs as health systems transition to value-based models.

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Guiding Lay Navigation in Geriatric Patients With Cancer Using a Distress Assessment Tool

Gabrielle B. Rocque, Richard A. Taylor, Aras Acemgil, Xuelin Li, Maria Pisu, Kelly Kenzik, Bradford E. Jackson, Karina I. Halilova, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Karen Meneses, Yufeng Li, Michelle Y. Martin, Carol Chambless, Nedra Lisovicz, Mona Fouad, Edward E. Partridge, Elizabeth A. Kvale, and the Patient Care Connect Group

Background: There is growing interest in psychosocial care and evaluating distress in patients with cancer. As of 2015, the Commission on Cancer requires cancer centers to screen patients for distress, but the optimal approach to implementation remains unclear. Methods: We assessed the feasibility and impact of using distress assessments to frame lay navigator interactions with geriatric patients with cancer who were enrolled in navigation between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014. Results: Of the 5,121 patients enrolled in our lay patient navigation program, 4,520 (88%) completed at least one assessment using a standardized distress tool (DT). Navigators used the tool to structure both formal and informal distress assessments. Of all patients, 24% reported distress scores of 4 or greater and 5.5% reported distress scores of 8 or greater. The most common sources of distress at initial assessment were pain, balance/mobility difficulties, and fatigue. Minority patients reported similar sources of distress as the overall program population, with increased relative distress related to logistical issues, such as transportation and financial/insurance questions. Patients were more likely to ask for help with questions about insurance/financial needs (79%), transportation (76%), and knowledge deficits about diet/nutrition (76%) and diagnosis (66%) when these items contributed to distress. Conclusions: Lay navigators were able to routinely screen for patient distress at a high degree of penetration using a structured distress assessment.