Medicaid Reimbursement Linked with Greater Cancer Screening Rate

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Changes to Medicaid reimbursements can improve cancer screening rates.
Changes to Medicaid reimbursements can improve cancer screening rates.

Increased Medicaid reimbursement for physician office visits is associated with a greater likelihood of Medicaid beneficiaries receiving common cancer screening tests, according to a study published in Cancer.

Michael T. Halpern, M.D., Ph.D., from RTI International in Washington, D.C., and colleagues utilized 2007 Medicaid data from 46 states and the District of Columbia to assess associations between state-specific Medicaid reimbursement/eligibility policies and receipt of cancer screening.

Analysis included individuals (aged 21 years to 64 years) who were enrolled in fee-for-service Medicaid for at least four months. Screening tests of interest included Papanicolaou test (2,136,511 patients), mammography (792,470 patients), colonoscopy (769,729 patients), and fecal occult blood test (753,868 patients).

RELATED: Low Life Expectancy Tied to Cancer Screening

The researchers found that increases in screening test reimbursement showed mixed associations with the likelihood of receiving screening tests among Medicaid beneficiaries. However, increased office visit reimbursements were positively associated with the odds of receiving all screening tests examined (colonoscopy: odds ratio [OR], 1.07; fecal occult blood test: OR, 1.09; Papanicolaou test: OR, 1.02; and mammography: OR, 1.02).

"Increased reimbursement for office visits was consistently associated with an increased likelihood of being screened for cancer, and may be an important policy tool for increasing screening among this vulnerable population," the authors write.

  1. Halpern, Michael T., MD, PhD, et al. "Impact of state-specific Medicaid reimbursement and eligibility policies on receipt of cancer screening." Cancer. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28704. August 25, 2014.

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