Background:Little is known about the effect of provider continuity prior to the diagnosis of advanced lung cancer and end-of-life care.Methods:Retrospective analysis of 69,247 Medicare beneficiaries aged 67 years or older diagnosed with Stage IIIB or IV lung cancer between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2005 who died within two years of diagnosis. We examined visit patterns to a primary care physician (PCP) and/or any provider one year prior to the diagnosis of advanced lung cancer as measures of continuity of care. Outcome measures were hospitalization, ICU use and chemotherapy use during the last month of life, and hospice use during the last week of life.Results:Seeing a PCP or any provider in the year prior to the diagnosis of advanced lung cancer increased the likelihood of hospitalization, ICU care, chemotherapy and hospice use during the end of life. Patients with 1-3, 4-7 or >7 visits to their PCP in the year prior to the diagnosis of lung cancer had 1.0 (reference), 1.08 (95% CI; 1.04-1.13), and 1.14 (95% CI; 1.08-1.19) odds of hospitalization during the last month of life, respectively. Odds of hospice use during the last week of life were higher in patients with visits to multiple PCPs (OR 1.10: 95% CI; 1.06-1.15) compared to those whose visits were all to the same PCP.Conclusion:Provider continuity in the year prior to the diagnosis of advanced lung cancer was not associated with lower use of aggressive care during end of life. Our study did not have information on patient preferences and result should be interpreted accordingly.
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