Chemotherapy Treatment Costs and Clinical Outcomes of Colon Cancer in the U.S. Military Health System’s Direct and Private Sector Care Settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Identifying low-value cancer care may be an important step in containing costs associated with treatment. Low-value care occurs when the medical services, tests, or treatments rendered do not result in clinical benefit. These may be impacted by care setting and patients’ access to care and health insurance. We aimed to study chemotherapy treatment and the cost paid by the Department of Defense (DoD) for treatment in relation to clinical outcomes among patients with colon cancer treated within the U.S. Military Health System’s direct and private sector care settings to better understand the value of cancer care. Materials and Methods: A cohort of patients aged 18 to 64 years with primary colon cancer diagnosed between January 1, 1999, and December 31, 2014, were identified in the Military Cancer Epidemiology database. Multivariable time-dependent Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess the relationship between chemotherapy treatment and the cost paid by the DoD (in quartiles, Q) and the outcomes of cancer progression, cancer recurrence, and all-cause death modeled as adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). The Military Cancer Epidemiology data were approved for research by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ Institutional Review Board. Results: The study included 673 patients using direct care and 431 patients using private sector care. The median per patient chemotherapy costs in direct care ($111,202) were lower than in private sector care ($350,283). In direct care, higher chemotherapy costs were associated with an increased risk of any outcome but not with all-cause death. In private sector care, higher chemotherapy costs were associated with a higher risk of any outcome and with all-cause death (aHR, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.20-5.92 for Q4 vs. Q1). Conclusions: The findings in the private sector may indicate low-value care in terms of the cost paid by the DoD for chemotherapy treatment and achieving desirable survival outcomes for patients with colon cancer in civilian health care. Comprehensive evaluations of value-based care among patients treated for other tumor types may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3439-E3446
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume188
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

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