Nevin Manimala Statistics

Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Place of Death Among Medicaid and Commercially Insured Patients With Cancer in Washington State

J Clin Oncol. 2022 Nov 23:JCO2200070. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.00070. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions in health care delivery might have affected end-of-life care in patients with cancer. We examined changes in place of death and hospice support for Medicaid and commercially insured patients during the pandemic.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We linked Washington State cancer registry records with claims from Medicaid and two commercial insurers for patients with solid tumor age 18-64 years. The study included 322 Medicaid and 162 commercial patients who died between March 2017 and June 2019 (pre-COVID-19), along with 90 Medicaid and 47 commercial patients who died between March and June 2020 (COVID-19). Place of death was categorized as hospital, hospice (home or nonhospital facility), and home without hospice. Place of death was compared using adjusted multinomial logistic regressions stratified by payer and time period (pre-COVID-19 v COVID-19). The clinical and sociodemographic factors associated with dying at home without hospice were examined, and adjusted marginal effects (ME) are reported.

RESULTS: In the adjusted pre-COVID-19 analysis, Medicaid patients were more likely than commercially insured patients to die in hospital (48% v 36%; adjusted ME, 11%; P = .02). In the pre-COVID-19/COVID-19 analysis, Medicaid patients’ place of death shifted from hospital (48% v 32%; ME, -16%; P < .01) to home without hospice (19.9% v 38.0%; ME, 16.5%; P < .01). However, there were no statistically significant changes pre-COVID-19/COVID-19 for commercial patients. As a result, during COVID-19, Medicaid patients were more likely than commercial patients to die at home without hospice (38% v 22%; ME, 16%; P = .04) as were male versus female patients (ME, 16%; P < .01).

CONCLUSION: The pandemic might have disproportionately worsened the end-of-life experience for Medicaid enrollees with cancer. Attention should be paid to societal and health system factors that decrease access to care for Medicaid patients.

PMID:36417688 | DOI:10.1200/JCO.22.00070

By Nevin Manimala

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