Impact of lay navigation on utilization and Medicare spending for cancer survivors in the “Deep South”

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Though lay navigation programs have proven beneficial for individuals during cancer treatment, little is known about the effects of lay navigation on health care utilization and Medicare spending among older adults during cancer survivorship. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used administrative claims data to evaluate a lay navigation program implemented from 2012 to 2015 at 12 academic and community cancer centers in the Southeast. Medicare beneficiaries age ≥65 years navigated during survivorship were compared to propensity score–matched, non-navigated cancer survivors. Quarterly trends in Medicare spending were estimated using repeated measures mixed models. Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using repeated measures generalized linear models for quarterly emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations. Results: Medicare spending for navigated (n = 3255) versus non-navigated older cancer survivors (n = 3255) was initially higher but declined faster by $513 per patient per quarter (95% CI −$616, −$410). Per patient per quarter risk of ER visits decreased by 11% (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.86, 0.92) and hospitalizations decreased by 16% (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.81, 0.88) over time comparing navigated versus non-navigated patients. Similar results were seen for patients enrolled in navigation post-treatment (N = 1893). Conclusions: In older cancer survivors receiving care in the Deep South, patients receiving lay navigation compared to those non-navigated had significant reductions in Medicare spending, hospitalizations, and ER visits. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Though much emphasis has been placed on lay navigation during initial cancer treatment, navigation is needed throughout survivorship due to the high costs and health care utilization that persist post-treatment.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williams CP; Rocque GB; Azuero A; Kenzik KM; Williams GR; Sharma P; Rocconi RP; Demark-Wahnefried W; Martin MY; Pisu M
  • Start Page

  • 705
  • End Page

  • 713
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 4