Current Practices for Screening and Addressing Financial Hardship within the NCI Community Oncology Research Program

McLouth, L. E., Nightingale, C. L., Dressler, E. V., Snavely, A. C., Hudson, M. F., Unger, J. M., Kazak, A. E., Lee, S. J. C., Edward, J., Carlos, R., Kamen, C. S., Neuman, H. B., Weaver, K. E.

BACKGROUND: Cancer-related financial hardship is associated with poor care outcomes and reduced quality of life for patients and families. Scalable intervention development to address financial hardship requires knowledge of current screening practices and services within community cancer care. METHODS: The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) 2017 Landscape Assessment survey assessed financial screening and financial navigation practices within U.S. community oncology practices. Logistic models evaluated associations between financial hardship screening and availability of a cancer-specific financial navigator and practice group characteristics (e.g., safety-net designation, critical access hospital, proportion of racial and ethnic minority patients served). RESULTS: Of 221 participating NCORP practice groups, 72% reported a financial screening process and 50% had a cancer-specific financial navigator. Practice groups with more than 10% of new patients with cancer enrolled in Medicaid ((adj)OR = 2.81, P = 0.02) and with less than 30% racial/ethnic minority cancer patient composition ((adj)OR = 3.91, P < 0.01) were more likely to screen for financial concerns. Practice groups with less than 30% racial/ethnic minority cancer patient composition ((adj)OR = 2.37, P < 0.01) were more likely to have a dedicated financial navigator or counselor for patients with cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Most NCORP practice groups screen for financial concerns and half have a cancer-specific financial navigator. Practices serving more racial or ethnic minority patients are less likely to screen and have a designated financial navigator. IMPACT: The effectiveness of financial screening and navigation for mitigating financial hardship could be tested within NCORP, along with specific interventions to address cancer care inequities.See related commentary by Yabroff et al., p. 593.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2021
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