Low Risk Prostate Cancer Imaging More Common Outside of VA Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Danil V. Makarov, MD, MHS Department of Urology and Department of Population Health New York University Langone School of Medicine VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service Cancer Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York

Dr. Makarov

Danil V. Makarov, MD, MHS
Department of Urology and
Department of Population Health
New York University Langone School of Medicine
VA New York Harbor Healthcare System,
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Cancer Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Reducing prostate cancer staging imaging for men with low-risk disease is an important national priority to improve widespread guideline-concordant practice, as determined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines. It appears that prostate cancer imaging rates vary by several factors, including health care setting. Within Veterans Health Administration (VHA), physicians receive no financial incentive to provide more services. Outside VHA, the fee-for-service model used in Medicare may encourage provision of more healthcare services due to direct physician reimbursement.

In our study, we compared these health systems by investigating the association between prostate cancer imaging rates and a VA vs fee-for-service health care setting. We used novel methods to directly compare Veterans, Medicare Recipients, and Veterans that chose to receive care from both the VA at private facilities using Medicare insurance through the Choice Act with regard to rates of guideline-discordant imaging for prostate cancer.

We found that Medicare beneficiaries were significantly more likely to receive guideline-discordant prostate cancer imaging than men treated only in VA.

Moreover, we found that men with low-risk prostate cancer patients in the VA-only group had the lowest likelihood of guideline-discordant imaging, those in the VA and Medicare group had the next highest likelihood of guideline-discordant imaging (in the middle), and those in the Medicare-only group had the highest likelihood of guideline-discordant imaging.  Continue reading