Racial disparities in cancer care in the Veterans Affairs health care system and the role of site of care.
OBJECTIVES: We assessed cancer care disparities within the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system and whether between-hospital differences explained disparities. METHODS: We linked VA cancer registry data with VA and Medicare administrative data and examined 20 cancer-related quality measures among Black and White veterans diagnosed with colorectal (n = 12,897), lung (n = 25,608), or prostate (n = 38,202) cancer from 2001 to 2004. We used logistic regression to assess racial disparities for each measure and hospital fixed-effects models to determine whether disparities were attributable to between- or within-hospital differences. RESULTS: Compared with Whites, Blacks had lower rates of early-stage colon cancer diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.72, 0.90), curative surgery for stage I, II, or III rectal cancer (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.78), 3-year survival for colon cancer (AOR = 0.75; 95% CI = 0.62, 0.89) and rectal cancer (AOR = 0.61; 95% CI = 0.42, 0.87), curative surgery for early-stage lung cancer (AOR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.60), 3-dimensional conformal or intensity-modulated radiation (3-D CRT/IMRT; AOR = 0.53; 95% CI = 0.47, 0.59), and potent antiemetics for highly emetogenic chemotherapy (AOR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.78, 0.98). Adjustment for hospital fixed-effects minimally influenced racial gaps except for 3-D CRT/IMRT (AOR = 0.75; 95% CI = 0.65, 0.87) and potent antiemetics (AOR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.82, 1.10). CONCLUSIONS: Disparities in VA cancer care were observed for 7 of 20 measures and were primarily attributable to within-hospital differences.
Samuel, CA; Landrum, MB; McNeil, BJ; Bozeman, SR; Williams, CD; Keating, NL
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