Costs and Projected Effect of a Federally Qualified Health Center–Based Mailed Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in Texas
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Costs and Projected Effect of a Federally Qualified Health Center–Based Mailed Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in Texas

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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Mailed stool testing for colorectal cancer (CRC) may improve screening uptake and reduce the incidence and mortality of CRC, especially among patients at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). To expand screening programs it is important to identify cost-effective approaches.


    We developed a decision-analytic model to estimate the cost, effects on screening and patient outcomes (CRCs detected, CRCs prevented, CRC deaths prevented), and cost-effectiveness of implementing a state-wide mailed stool testing program over 5 years among unscreened, age-eligible (aged 50–75 y) patients at FQHCs in Texas. We compared various outreach strategies and organizational structures (centralized, regional, or a hybrid). We used data from our existing regional mailed stool testing program and recent systematic reviews to set parameters for the model. Costs included start-up and ongoing activities and were estimated in 2022 US dollars from the perspective of a hypothetical third-party payer. Cost-effectiveness was assessed by using both incremental and average cost-effectiveness ratios.


    Using either a statewide centralized or hybrid organizational configuration to mail stool tests to newly eligible FQHC patients and patients who have responded at least once since program inception is likely to result in the best use of resources over 5 years, enabling more than 110,000 additional screens, detecting an incremental 181 to 194 CRCs, preventing 91 to 98 CRCs, and averting 46 to 50 CRC deaths, at a cost of $10 million to $11 million compared with no program.


    A statewide mailed stool testing program for FQHC patients can be implemented at reasonable cost with considerable effects on CRC screening outcomes, especially when its structure maximizes program efficiency while maintaining effectiveness.

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