To the Editor: Dr McCarthy and colleagues1 found that 27% of Medicare beneficiaries with lung
cancer had access to hospice services. They also found that the percentage
was lower among those patients with Medicare fee-for-service than among those
with Medicare managed care.
However, they reported that only 16.4% of patients with breast cancer
had access to hospice care. This lesser access does not seem to be explained
by sex differences because men with prostate cancer had a similar rate of
access (18.1%). The cohort comprised Medicare beneficiaries originally diagnosed
as having cancer. This sampling procedure therefore included all terminally
ill patients regardless of their clinical scenarios.
Gagnon B. Hospice Use in Medicare Beneficiaries With Cancer. JAMA. 2003;290(12):1578. doi:10.1001/jama.290.12.1578-a
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