The Use of Prostate Specific Antigen Screening in Purchased versus Direct Care Settings: Data from the TRICARE® Military Database

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Abstract

Purpose:

Fee for service reimbursement incentives may affect care. We compared the odds of prostate specific antigen screening among former and active duty United States military service members based on receipt of primary care from integrated military health facilities vs community providers reimbursed via fee for service.

Materials and Methods:

We retrospectively studied the records of all active duty and retired male service members 40 to 64 years old who were covered by the TRICARE® military health benefit in 2010. Beneficiaries may receive primary care at military run facilities via the direct care system or with private physicians via the purchased care system. We compared rates of prostate specific antigen screening between propensity score weighted cohorts of 219,290 men who received primary care in the direct care system and 177,748 who received it in the purchased care system.

Results:

The screening rate was 35% in the direct care system vs 26% in the purchased care system. After propensity score weighting the former men were significantly more likely to undergo prostate specific antigen screening than men who received primary care in the purchased care system (adjusted OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.729–1.781). Age older than 52 years, rank and black race were associated with increased odds of prostate specific antigen screening in each cohort.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that salaried primary care providers employed at integrated military facilities are more likely to order prostate specific antigen screening compared to those reimbursed in a fee for service fashion by military insurance. Growing understanding of how fee for service incentives impact prostate specific antigen screening by primary care providers may enable advocates and policy makers to leverage reimbursement systems as a tool to change prostate cancer screening.

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