Cancer 2017 11 07() doi 10.1002/cncr.31095
Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients with Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance show poor outcomes in comparison with privately insured patients. It was hypothesized that nonprivate insurance coverage biases the selection of the treatment site to favor hospitals that are not associated with optimum treatment outcomes. This study assessed the relation between the insurance type of HNC patients and the hospital type for inpatient care.
Adult HNC patients were identified from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2012 and 2013). The primary exposure was the insurance provider type. The outcome was the hospital type, which was classified by the hospital’s ownership and its location and teaching status. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression models were constructed to control for the patient’s age, sex, race, income, mortality risk, and geographic location. The analysis was weighted and was adjusted for multiple comparisons.
In all, 37,466 HNC patients representing 187,330 patients nationally were identified. After adjustments for age, sex, race, income, and mortality risk, in comparison with privately insured patients, Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured patients demonstrated 1.14 to 2.29 increased odds of undergoing treatment at rural, urban nonteaching, private investor-owned, or government (nonfederal) hospitals (P < .05). This trend remained apparent even after adjustments for the geographic location. CONCLUSIONS
Uninsured patients or patients insured by government programs predominantly underwent care for HNC at hospital types most often associated with inferior survival outcomes. This finding could explain some proportion of insurance-related disparities in HNC outcomes. Further studies are warranted to determine whether interventions to promote equitable access to optimal hospital settings for patients, regardless of their insurance type, might improve outcomes among nonprivate insurance holders. Cancer 2017. © 2017 American Cancer Society.