Disparities in receipt of preventive services by people with mental illness have been previously documented. However, whether these disparities extend to screening mammography among individuals experiencing comparable barriers to accessing care has not been fully examined.
To determine whether disparities exist in receipt of screening mammography between women with and without mental illness enrolled in Medicaid, a program with documented potential to reduce healthcare disparities.
Receipt of screening mammography was examined among women aged 50–64 years enrolled in Ohio’s Medicaid program during the years 2002–2008 (n=130,088). Receipt of annual screening mammography was examined among those with at least one screening mammography during the study period. Mental illness was identified through diagnostic, service, and pharmacotherapy codes (n=61,661).
Compared to women without mental illness, more women with mental illness received at least one screening mammography during the study period (38.1% vs 31.7%, p<0.001). However, after adjusting for potential confounders, including the presence of comorbid conditions and length of enrollment in Medicaid, women with mental illness were 32% less likely to undergo at least one screening mammography (AOR 0.68, 95% CI= 0.66, 0.70). Among those who received at least one screening mammography, fewer women with mental illness received screening mammography on an annual basis (5.9% vs 12.7%, p< 0.001; AOR 0.53 (95% CI= 0.49, 0.56)). For all beneficiaries, each year of enrollment in Medicaid increased the likelihood of screening mammography use by at least 50%.
Medicaid beneficiaries with mental illness constitute a particularly vulnerable population for suboptimal breast cancer screening.