Background: Equitable access to care is a critical component of comprehensive surgical lung cancer management. Despite this, quality measures (QMs) assessing preoperative access to care are lacking. This study determined several preoperative QMs on the basis of contemporary treatment guidelines and hypothesized that poor access to care was associated with worse outcomes. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used a specially compiled Veterans Health Administration data set of patients with clinical stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent surgical treatment (2006-2016). The study defined 4 QMs that patients with clinical stage I NSCLC should routinely meet in the preoperative period: timely surgery, positron emission tomography imaging, appropriate smoking management, and pulmonary function testing. The relationship between meeting these QMs and various short- and long-term outcomes was assessed. Results: Among 9749 veterans undergoing surgery for clinical stage I NSCLC, 3371 (34.6%) met all QMs. Factors associated with lower likelihood of meeting all QMs included Black race (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.744; 95% CI, 0.652-0.848), higher area deprivation index score (eg, quartile 5 vs 1; aOR, 0.747; 95% CI, 0.647-0.863), and increased distance to hospital (eg, quartile 5 vs 1; aOR, 0.700; 95% CI, 0.605-0.811). Adherence to all QMs was associated with significantly lower likelihood of postoperative mortality (aOR, 0.623; 95% CI, 0.433-0.896) and improved overall survival (adjusted HR, 0.897; 95% CI, 0.844-0.954). Conclusions: Inadequate access to preoperative care is associated with worse short- and long-term outcomes in clinical stage I NSCLC. Future Veterans Health Administration policy measures should focus on providing more equitable guideline-concordant care to veterans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1815
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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