publication date: May. 9, 2014


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By Matthew Bin Han Ong

When it appeared that CT screening for lung cancer was a shoo-in for Medicare coverage, the Lung Cancer Alliance, an advocacy group, started to certify “screening centers of excellence.”

Centers all over the country received this designation from LCA and were listed on the group’s website.

However, as he prepared for a recent Medicare advisory committee meeting, Peter Bach, a pulmonologist and health systems researcher at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, checked the list of LCA-certified centers.

He found that the vast majority of the centers did not meet either the multi-society or the criteria recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for lung cancer screening eligibility.

About 68 percent of 74 LCA-certified screening sites that Bach examined did not meet the criteria, Bach said at the April 30 Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee hearing.

Though a MEDCAC member himself, Bach testified independently. He was also a requestor for the National Coverage Determination.

“Here’s a pie chart we generated in my office—we just took the list of ‘trusted’ sites from the Lung Cancer Alliance,” said Bach, an attending physician and director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at MSKCC. “We stopped when we got halfway into the alphabet.

“These sites publish their screening eligibility criteria,” he said. “The small blue slice of 19 percent meets the multi-society guidelines for eligibility. The orange meets USPSTF. Every other site listed enrolls people who don’t meet those criteria.”

Continue reading 40-19 Peter Bach: LCA Center Certification Untrustworthy

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