An examination of racial differences in process and outcome of colorectal cancer care quality among users of the veterans affairs health care system.
BACKGROUND: Veterans Affairs (VA) manages the largest US integrated health care system. Although quality of VA colorectal cancer (CRC) care is well chronicled, there is a paucity of research examining racial differences in this care. This study examines racial differences in 2 dimensions of quality of VA CRC care: processes (time to treatment) and outcomes (survival). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Retrospective data were from the VA External Peer Review Program (EPRP), a nationwide VA quality-monitoring program. Study patients were white and African American men diagnosed with nonmetastatic CRC between 2003 and 2006 who received definitive CRC surgery. We examined 3 quality indicators: time from (1) surgery to initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy (stages II-III disease), (2) surgery to surveillance colonoscopy (stages I-III disease), and (3) surgery to death (stages I-III disease). Unadjusted analyses used log-rank and Wilcoxon tests. Adjusted analyses used Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS: In unadjusted analyses, there was no evidence of racial differences across the 3 quality measures. In adjusted Cox regression, there were no racial differences in time to initiation of chemotherapy (hazard ratio [HR], 0.82; P = .61) or surgery to death (HR, 0.94; P = .49). In adjusted Cox regression, among those receiving colonoscopy within 7 to 18 months after surgery, white patients experienced slightly shorter median times to surveillance colonoscopy than did African American patients (367 vs. 383 days; HR, 0.63; P = .02). CONCLUSION: Other than a small racial difference in timing of surveillance colonoscopy, there was little evidence of racial differences in quality of CRC care among VA health care system users.
Zullig, LL; Jackson, GL; Weinberger, M; Provenzale, D; Reeve, BB; Carpenter, WR
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