Enhancing Access to and Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials Through a Financial Reimbursement Program

Protocol to Evaluate a Novel Program

Published in: Contemporary Clinical Trials, Volume 121 (October 2022). doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2022.106922

Posted on RAND.org on September 15, 2022

by David E. Gerber, Jasmin A. Tiro, Lorna H. McNeill, Erin L. Williams, Hong Zhu, Simon J. Craddock Lee, Patrick J. Leavey, Navid Sadeghi, Kandice A. Kapinos, Dana L. Dornsife, et al.

As clinical trials have become more complex, with increasing numbers of required procedures and clinic visits, gaining access to promising new treatments has become even more challenging for many individuals. To address these barriers, we implemented a financial reimbursement and outreach program designed to increase the number and diversity of participants in cancer clinical trials at centers in Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia. As endorsed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Texas and Pennsylvania State Legislatures, the program provides financial reimbursement for non-clinical costs (e.g., travel, lodging) to patients on cancer clinical trials with household income up to 700% the Federal poverty rate. The research study described here, centered at the Dallas site, evaluates program impact by assessing (1) numbers and diversity of patients enrolled to cancer clinical trials before and after program implementation; (2) characteristics of patients offered participation in the program who do versus do not enroll; (3) characteristics of patients enrolled in the program who do versus do not complete the reimbursement process. To evaluate perceived barriers and facilitators of program participation, we will conduct semi-structured interviews and administer the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity Patient Reported Outcome Measure (COST PROM) and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy (SAHL). This program will examine how reimbursement of non-clinical costs can improve access to cancer clinical trials, with the eventual goal of increasing trial enrollment, diversity, representativeness, and generalizability.

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