Patient Care

Patient Knowledge of and Barriers to Breast, Colon, and Cervical Cancer Screenings: A Cross-Sectional Survey of TRICARE Beneficiaries

TRICARE Prime beneficiaries view cancer screening as important for overall health but may need more frequent scheduling reminders, education, and scheduling options to increase below-average screening rates.

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The National Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2009, Subtitle B, waived copayments for preventive cancer screening services for all TRICARE beneficiaries, excluding Medicare-eligible beneficiaries.1 These preventive services include screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), breast cancer, and cervical cancer based on current guidelines (Appendix, available at TRICARE Prime is a health care option available to active-duty service members (ADSMs), military retirees, and their families, providing no-fee, routine cancer screening through a primary care manager (PCM) or any network (commercial) provider.

Despite having unrestricted access to these cancer screenings, TRICARE Prime beneficiaries report overall screening completion rates that are below the national commercial benchmarks established by the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) for all 3 cancer types.2 Specifically, among TRICARE Prime beneficiaries enrolled in the western region of the U.S. in October 2013, the reported breast cancer screening rate was 61.6% (43,138/69,976) for women aged 42 to 69 years, which is well below the HEDIS 75th percentile of 76%.

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