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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of a Capitated Patient Navigation Program for Medicare Beneficiaries with Lung Cancer

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness analysis; patient navigation; lung cancer.

Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness of implementing a patient navigation (PN) program with capitated payment for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with lung cancer.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Cost-effectiveness analysis.

Study Design: A Markov model to capture the disease progression of lung cancer and characterize clinical benefits of PN services as timeliness of treatment and care coordination. Taking a payer's perspective, we estimated the lifetime costs, life years (LYs), and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and addressed uncertainties in one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Model inputs were extracted from the literature, supplemented with data from a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services demonstration project.

Principal Findings: Compared to usual care, PN services incurred higher costs but also yielded better outcomes. The incremental cost and effectiveness was $9,145 and 0.47 QALYs, respectively, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $19,312/QALY. One-way sensitivity analysis indicated that findings were most sensitive to a parameter capturing PN survival benefit for local-stage patients. CE-acceptability curve showed the probability that the PN program was cost-effective was 0.80 and 0.91 at a societal willingness-to-pay of $50,000 and $100,000/QALY, respectively.

Conclusion: Instituting a capitated PN program is cost-effective for lung cancer patients in Medicare. Future research should evaluate whether the same conclusion holds in other cancers.

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