Delays in melanoma surgery may vary by insurance type, according to research in JAMA Dermatology.
While Medicaid patients had the highest likelihood of delays, significant proportions of Medicare and privately insured patients also experienced delayed care. Also, the likelihood of surgical delay was less if the physician performing the operation or the clinician making the diagnosis was a dermatologist, according to the results.
Researchers led by Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, used data from the North Carolina Cancer Registry linked to administrative claims from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.
The study include 7,629 patients (48 percent insured by Medicare, 48 percent by private insurance and 4 percent by Medicaid). Surgical delay was defined as surgical remove more than six weeks after melanoma diagnosis. Study limitations include that patients were exclusively from North Carolina.
“Delays in melanoma care could be reduced through better access to specialty care and cross-disciplinary partnerships to ensure that patients can safely navigate the treatment episode. Understanding why Medicaid patients receive less timely care for melanoma should be given further scrutiny,” the article concludes.