Study: Medicaid Payments Impact Colon Cancer Screening Rates

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New research suggests that Medicaid recipients are more likely to receive cancer screening tests when their doctors receive higher reimbursements for routine office visits.

However, increased reimbursement payments for screening tests themselves did not necessarily result in higher screening rates.

Prior studies have found that Medicaid enrollees are less likely to be screened for cancer than Medicare beneficiaries or patients with private insurance and, if diagnosed with cancer, are more likely to be diagnosed at late stages when the cancer is harder to treat.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, compared data on various types of cancer screening practices, such as colonoscopy, mammography, fecal occult blood tests and Pap tests, among Medicaid recipients with state Medicaid reimbursement rates for doctor's office visits and for screening tests.

In states that reimbursed more for office visits, the researchers found a seven percent increase in the patients' likelihood of having a colonoscopy, a nine percent increase for fecal occult blood test and a two percent increase for Pap test or mammogram.

This research suggests that increasing reimbursement rates for routine primary care office visits may increase physician access to cancer screening tests, thereby increasing the number of physicians who order them for their patients.

Original Source Article: Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health.

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Topics: Colon Cancer News