Goyal RK, Wheeler SB, Kohler RE, Lich KH, Lin CC, Reeder-Hayes K, Meyer AM, Mayer DK. Health care utilization from chemotherapy-related adverse events among low-income breast cancer patients: effect of enrollment in a medical home program. N C Med J. 2014 Jul;75(4):231-8.

BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy-related health care utilization by breast cancer patients can be expensive for payers and patients. This study evaluated the patient-centered medical home program Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) in terms of its potential to reduce health care utilization associated with chemotherapy-related adverse events (AEs).

Early-stage breast cancer cases diagnosed during the 5-year period 2003-2007 were identified in the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry; these cases were then linked to North Carolina Medicaid claims data. We measured health care utilization associated with chemotherapy-related AEs by setting (inpatient, outpatient, or emergency department) during a 15-month postdiagnosis follow-up period. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were performed to examine associations between CCNC enrollment and health care utilization associated with chemotherapy-related AEs.

RESULTS: A large proportion of breast cancer patients had at least 1 health care visit associated with a chemotherapy-related AE (n = 412 [72.3%]). The mean numbers of AE-related visits occurring in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department settings were 0.30 (standard deviation [SD] = 0.83), 6.92 (SD = 10.94), and 0.46 (SD = 1.26), respectively. CCNC enrollment was associated with significantly fewer inpatient admissions (marginal effect, -0.1421; 95% confidence interval, -0.280 to -0.004).

LIMITATIONS: In this observational study, we were unable to draw conclusions about the causality of these associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients enrolled in CCNC had fewer inpatient health care visits associated with chemotherapy-related AEs. Future research should continue to explore the extent to which patient-centered medical homes can monitor and help manage the effects of cancer treatments.

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