Managed Care Makes Little Difference in Cancer Care

Study found it didn't raise, lower quality of life for these patients

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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 16, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing the percentage of community residents enrolled in managed care plans has little or no effect on the overall quality of care for cancer patients in that community, a report suggests.

Researchers analyzed data collected from a sample of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with breast or colorectal cancer between 1993 and 1999. The researchers examined the association between managed-care market share and changes in quality of care for cancer patients in the fee-for-service sector.

"Fears that spillover effects from increases in managed care would have large negative effects on the quality of cancer care for patients not in managed care appear to be unfounded," write researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Boston. "However, hopes that expansion of managed care may improve quality for all patients by promoting the efficient delivery of effective, evidence-based care have also not been realized," the study authors wrote.

The researchers report the finding in the Feb. 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information

The American College of Emergency Physicians has more about managed care.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Feb. 15, 2005

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