Wanted: Researchers to Study the Connection Between Health Insurance and Cancer Outcomes

It’s no big surprise that access to health care and insurance can have a big impact on a patient’s ability to survive a medical catastrophe. It’s a tough problem to address, because many of folks the most likely to get seriously ill are the ones suffering from inadequate access to care, whether due to income, geography, or lack of insurance. It’s a bit of a catch-22, but lately the American Cancer Society seems to be interested in examining the impact of health insurance—and the greater American health care system—on outcomes for cancer patients.

Their latest RFP seems designed to stimulate research—the kind of research that will generate new knowledge of how the U.S. healthcare system and the health insurance system affects both access to and outcomes with respect to cancer screening, early detection, and treatment services.

As far as getting into the administrative side of things goes, there’s really no limit as to how far into the weeds ACS is looking for researchers to go. Researchers are encouraged to investigate how factors affecting access and outcomes interact—e.g. insurance status, costs, capacity, personal characteristics, provider characteristics, and/or components of the healthcare delivery system.

Studies may be conducted at the state, multi-state, or national levels, or otherwise involve large populations. If cross-sectional studies are proposed, analysis of both demographic and outcomes data—e.g., claims data linked with electronic health records, SEER data, state-level data, National Center for Health Statistics, or other existing datasets—is preferred.

The ACS suggests some potential areas of investigation, including: how the structure and capacity of the healthcare system affect appropriate and timely access to cancer screening; early detection, treatment, and palliative care services; the provider and system factors that affect treatment patterns and quality of cancer care within the current healthcare systems; and the exploration of life course patterns of the entire spectrum of cancer care (from prevention and screening through diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and supportive/palliative care) by linking diverse data sources for broad patient populations.

All interesting stuff. 

Awards will not exceed $200,000 per year (direct costs) for up to four years—not a bad take at all for studies that are more on the demographics side of things.

To be eligible, applicants must be affiliated with nonprofit institutions located in the United States, its territories, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Independent investigators at all stages of their career are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit the website