publication date: Oct. 3, 2014

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Groups Push For CMS Coverage For LDCT Lung Screening

A coalition of patient advocacy and medical organizations urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to cover low-dose computed tomography for Medicare patients at high risk for lung cancer.

More than 60 organizations—including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Cancer Society and several cancer centers—signed a 43-page joint letter to CMS recommending unrestricted national coverage for annual screening.

“The American Cancer Society carefully considered the evidence supporting screening for lung cancer with low dose CT scans and issued a guideline recommending screening for people at high risk based on age and smoking history,” Richard Wender, ACS chief cancer control officer, said in a statement. “This vital new screening tool is required by law to be available to most individuals with commercial insurance, but not those covered by Medicare.

“It’s time to extend coverage to all who may benefit from screening. We look forward to working with other interested parties to encourage Medicare to cover lung cancer screening and ensure that the exams are delivered in a high quality manner.”

Consistent with U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, the coalition wrote that CMS should cover screening for adults ages 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit with the past 15 years.

The task force gave a B rating to the procedure last fall—Medicare has the authority, but not the obligation, to cover preventive services if the USPSTF gives them an A or a B recommendation (The Cancer Letter, Continue reading 40-37 Groups Push For CMS Coverage For LDCT Lung Screening

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