No-cost CRC screening lowers death rate, increases cost effectiveness

A study, presented at 2017 Digestive Disease Week, examined how eliminating financial disincentives would impact colorectal cancer screening quality, Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News reports.

Elisabeth F.P. Peterse, a doctoral candidate at Rotterdam, Netherlands-based Erasmus University Medical Center, and colleagues used a virtual population model to study how waiving copayments and unexpected fees would impact quality-adjusted life years.

Here's what they found:

1. By eliminating copays, 5 percent more unscreened patient underwent a screening.

2. Deaths related to CRC in 65-year-old patients decreased by 8 percent.

3. The decreased death rate was equal to a cost-effectiveness ratio under $20,000 per QALY.

G&E linked the results to the ACA. The ACA eliminated copayments and deductibles related to CRC screening, but patients still field costs if physicians detect and remove polyps. Researchers suggest eliminating any financial disincentives to CRC screening, would be more cost-effective.

Several professional gastroenterology societies support providing CRC screening at no cost to patients.

Digestive Disease Week was May 6 to May 9 in Chicago.

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