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Prev Med. 2019 Mar;120:119-125. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.01.014. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

A cost-effectiveness analysis of a colorectal cancer screening program in safety net clinics.

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Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, 3800 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227, USA. Electronic address:
Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, 3800 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227, USA.
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 1730 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


STOP CRC is a cluster-randomized pragmatic study of a colorectal cancer (CRC) screening program within eight federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Oregon and California promoting fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) with appropriate colonoscopy follow-up. Results are presented of a cost-effectiveness analysis of STOP CRC. Organization staff completed activity-based costing spreadsheets, assigning labor hours by intervention activity and job-specific wage rates. Non-labor costs were from study data. Data were collected over February 2014-February 2016; analyses were performed in 2016-2017. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) using completed FITs adjusted for number of screening-eligible patients (SEPs), as the effectiveness measure were calculated overall and by organization. Intervention delivery costs totaled $305 K across eight organizations (range: $10.2 K-$110 K). Overall delivery cost per SEP was $14.43 (range: $10.37-$19.10). The largest cost category across organizations was implementation, specifically mailing preparation. The overall ICER was $483 per SEP-adjusted completed FIT (range: $96-$1021 among organizations with positive effectiveness). Lagged data accounting for implementation delay produced comparable results. The costs of colonoscopies following abnormal FITs decreased the overall ICER to S409 because usual care clinics generated more such colonoscopies than intervention clinics. Using lagged data, follow-up colonoscopies increase the ICER by 4.3% to $460. Results indicate the complex implications for cost-effectiveness of implementing standard CRC screening within a pragmatic setting involving FQHCs with varied patient populations, clinical structures, and resources. Performance variation across organizations emphasizes the need for future evaluations that inform the introduction of efficient CRC screening to underserved populations.



Cancer screening; Colon cancer; Cost analysis; Cost effectiveness analysis; Prevention & control

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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