Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospice Utilization Among Medicare Beneficiaries Dying from Pancreatic Cancer

Abstract

Background

We sought to define the incidence and characterize the timing of hospice utilization among racial/ethnic minority patients following pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer.

Methods

The Medicare Standard Analytic Files from 2013 to 2017 were used to identify patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent a pancreatectomy. Logistic regression was utilized to identify the association between race and patterns of hospice utilization among deceased individuals.

Results

Among the 14,495 individuals (median age 73; 52.3% female; 6.8% racial/ethnic minority) who underwent a pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer, 47% (n = 6859) died by the end of the follow-period. Among deceased individuals, three-fourths of patients (n = 4978, 72.6%) used hospice leading up to the time of death. Racial/ethnic minority patients were less likely, however, to have used hospice services compared with white patients (racial/ethnic minorities n = 301, 67% vs. whites: n = 4677, 73%; p = 0.024). On multivariable analysis, after controlling for clinical factors, racial/ethnic minority patients remained 22% less likely than whites to initiate hospice services prior to death (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.63–0.96). Despite overall lower use of hospice, racial/ethnic minority patients had comparable odds of late hospice utilization (i.e., within 3 days of death) versus white patients (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.73–1.50).

Discussion

While most patients undergoing pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer utilized hospice services prior to death, racial/ethnic minorities were less likely to use hospice services than whites.

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Correspondence to Timothy M. Pawlik.

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Paredes, A.Z., Hyer, J.M., Palmer, E. et al. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hospice Utilization Among Medicare Beneficiaries Dying from Pancreatic Cancer. J Gastrointest Surg 25, 155–161 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11605-020-04568-9

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Keywords

  • Hospice
  • Racial/ethnic disparities
  • Pancreatic cancer