Healthcare utilization, Medicare spending, and sources of patient distress identified during implementation of a lay navigation program for older patients with breast cancer

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Despite benefits for patients, sustainability of breast cancer navigation programs is challenging due to the lack of reimbursement for navigators. This analysis describes distress reported by breast cancer patients to navigators and the impact of navigation on healthcare utilization for older adults with breast cancer. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of Medicare administrative claims data and patient-reported distress assessments. The primary outcome was Medicare spending per beneficiary per quarter. Secondary outcomes included (1) the number of hospitalizations or ER visits in each quarter; (2) distress levels; and (3) causes of distress reported by patients to their navigators. A subset analysis was conducted for stage I/II/III versus stage IV patients. Results: 776 navigated and 776 control patients were included in the analysis. The average age at diagnosis was 74 years; 13% of the subjects were African American; 95% of patients had stage I–III. Medicare spending declined faster for the navigated group than the matched comparison group by $528 per quarter per patient (95% CL −$667, −$388). Stage I/II/III navigated patients showed a statistically significant decline in Medicare spending, ER visits, and hospitalizations over time compared to the matched comparison group. No differences were observed for stage IV patients. Eighteen percent of patients reported moderate distress. Informational and physical distress were more common in late stage than in early-stage breast cancer. Conclusions: Lay navigation reduced healthcare utilization in older adults with breast cancer, with the greatest impact observed in early-stage breast cancer patients.
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    Author List

  • Rocque GB; Williams CP; Jones MI; Kenzik KM; Williams GR; Azuero A; Jackson BE; Halilova KI; Meneses K; Taylor RA
  • Start Page

  • 215
  • End Page

  • 223
  • Volume

  • 167
  • Issue

  • 1