Accountable care organizations and the use of cancer screening.

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Preventive medicine


Cancer preventive services, when used appropriately, result in improved health, better quality of life and decreased costs. For these reasons, cancer preventive services represent important priorities within the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among the many provisions to improve access to preventive services the ACA introduced Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as trajectory to deliver coordinated, high-quality care. In order to evaluate this benchmark, we analyzed (in 2016/Boston) screening prevalence of breast cancer, a recommended screening test according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and prostate cancer, for which screening is no longer recommended by the USPSTF, among traditional Medicare beneficiaries and those enrolled in ACOs. We used propensity-score weighting to adjust for baseline confounders. We found that the prevalence of breast cancer screening (35.0% vs. 25.2%, p<0.001) and prostate cancer screening (54.6% vs. 41.7%, p<0.001) is higher among ACO enrollees. Our results suggest increased utilization of cancer preventive care within ACOs, regardless of whether the test is recommended or not. Better efforts may be needed within the ACO infrastructure to encourage recommended preventive care, but also penalize unnecessary use of low value services.

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Accountable Care Organizations; Aged; Boston; Breast Neoplasms; Early Detection of Cancer; Female; Humans; Male; Medicare; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Prostatic Neoplasms; Quality of Life; United States

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