Authors: Chen Y, Criss SD, Watson TR, Eckel A, Palazzo L, Tramontano AC, Wang Y, Mercaldo ND, Kong CY
Title: Cost and Utilization of Lung Cancer End-of-Life Care Among Racial-Ethnic Minority Groups in the United States.
Journal: Oncologist 25(1):e120-e129
Date: 2020 Jan
PubMed ID: 31501272
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The end-of-life period is a crucial time in lung cancer care. To have a better understanding of the racial-ethnic disparities in health care expenditures, access, and quality, we evaluated these disparities specifically in the end-of-life period for patients with lung cancer in the U.S. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database to analyze characteristics of lung cancer care among those diagnosed between the years 2000 and 2011. Linear and logistic regression models were constructed to measure racial-ethnic disparities in end-of-life care cost and utilization among non-Hispanic (NH) Asian, NH black, Hispanic, and NH white patients while controlling for other risk factors such as age, sex, and SEER geographic region. RESULTS: Total costs and hospital utilization were, on average, greater among racial-ethnic minorities compared with NH white patients in the last month of life. Among patients with NSCLC, the relative total costs were 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-1.33) for NH black patients, 1.36 (95% CI, 1.25-1.49) for NH Asian patients, and 1.21 (95% CI, 1.07-1.38) for Hispanic patients. Additionally, the odds of being admitted to a hospital for NH black, NH Asian, and Hispanic patients were 1.22 (95% CI, 1.15-1.30), 1.47 (95% CI, 1.32-1.63), and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.01-1.38) times that of NH white patients, respectively. Similar results were found for patients with SCLC. CONCLUSION: Minority patients with lung cancer have significantly higher end-of-life medical expenditures than NH white patients, which may be explained by a greater intensity of care in the end-of-life period. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study investigated racial-ethnic disparities in the cost and utilization of medical care among lung cancer patients during the end-of-life period. Compared with non-Hispanic white patients, racial-ethnic minority patients were more likely to receive intensive care in their final month of life and had statistically significantly higher end-of-life care costs. The findings of this study may lead to a better understanding of the racial-ethnic disparities in end-of-life care, which can better inform future end-of-life interventions and help health care providers develop less intensive and more equitable care, such as culturally competent advanced care planning programs, for all patients.