Outcomes in Men Denied Access to a California Public Assistance Program for Prostate Cancer
Published in: Public Health, v. 122, no. 2, Mar.-Apr. 2007, p. 217-223
OBJECTIVES: To improve access to prostate cancer treatment for low income uninsured men, California initiated a program called IMPACT: Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer. The program administered free treatment, case management, counseling, and educational materials to all eligible men until budget cuts led to a state-mandated suspension of enrollment and the establishment of a temporary waitlist in February 2005. To assess the effect of suspension of enrollment on patient outcomes, the authors compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in waitlisted and enrolled men. METHODS: Eighty-three men in each group were matched on disease stage, age, and race. HRQOL was captured with the UCLA Prostate Cancer Index short form (PCI-SF), the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 (SF-12), and McCorkle and Young's Symptoms and Degrees of Distress in Patients with Cancer Scale (SDS). Self-efficacy was measured with the Perceived Efficacy in Patient-Physician Interactions (PEPP1) Questionnaire. RESULTS: At intake, waitlisted men demonstrated significantly more symptom-related distress (2.9; p=0.04) and less perceived self-efficacy (2.5; p=0.005) compared to enrollees. Waitlisted men were significantly less likely to have access to a doctor or nurse case manager, treatment medications, nutrition information, or counseling services (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Men denied enrollment into the IMPACT program exhibited significantly worse symptom distress and self-efficacy compared to enrolled men at initial assessment. The multivariate model suggests that HROOL in the waitlisted men may be related to their lack of access to medical services. This data illustrates the importance of ongoing public assistance for low income men with prostate cancer.