Centralization of Initial Care and Improved Survival of Poor Patients with Breast Cancer

Ann B. Nattinger, Nina A. Bickell, Maria J. Schymura, Purushottam Laud, Emily L. McGinley, Nicole Fergestrom, Liliana E. Pezzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Poor women with breast cancer have worse survival than others, and are more likely to undergo surgery in low-volume facilities. We leveraged a natural experiment to study the effectiveness of a policy intervention undertaken by New York (NY) state in 2009 that precluded payment for breast cancer surgery for NY Medicaid beneficiaries treated in facilities performing fewer than 30 breast cancer surgeries annually.METHODSWe identified 37,822 women with stage I-III breast cancer during 2004-2008 or 2010-2013 and linked them to NY hospital discharge data. A multivariable difference-in-differences approach compared mortality of Medicaid insured patients with that of commercially or otherwise insured patients unaffected by the policy.RESULTSWomen treated during the postpolicy years had slightly lower 5-year overall mortality than those treated prepolicy; the survival gain was significantly larger for Medicaid patients (P =.018). Women enrolled in Medicaid had a greater reduction than others in breast cancer-specific mortality (P =.005), but no greater reduction in other causes of death (P =.50). Adjusted breast cancer mortality among women covered by Medicaid declined from 6.6% to 4.5% postpolicy, while breast cancer mortality among other women fell from 3.9% to 3.8%. A similar effect was not observed among New Jersey Medicaid patients with breast cancer treated during the same years.CONCLUSIONA statewide centralization policy discouraging initial care for breast cancer in low-volume facilities was associated with better survival for the Medicaid population targeted. Given these impressive results and those from prior research, other policymakers should consider adopting comparable policies to improve breast cancer outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2067-2075
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2023


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