publication date: Nov. 14, 2014

Brawley: CMS Got it Right in Lung Cancer Screening Coverage Decision

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule stating that the scientific evidence was sufficient to support reimbursement for counseling on the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening as well as lung cancer screening with low dose computed tomography in high risk individuals and once per year. CMS will pay for such services when provided to beneficiaries at high risk for lung cancer and when provided by physicians and centers with specific qualifications.

The CMS position acknowledges that if implemented wisely, lung cancer screening eventually has the potential to prevent the deaths of several thousand Americans per year. It also realizes that lung cancer screening is not without significant inconvenience and risk.

The emphasis on counseling, informed decision-making, and qualifications for medical professionals and medical centers who perform the screening is ground breaking. When it comes to a number of cancer screening tests, American medicine is starting to emphasize patient self determination and true shared decision making. This CMS policy will catalyze the movement.

These proposed policies are based on sound science. The National Lung Screening Trial is one of the best designed and best conducted screening studies ever. It documents the benefits and limitation of this screening intervention. The study shows that low dose CT when done well has the potential of reducing relative risk of lung cancer death by about 20 percent; it also has a high false positive rate, requiring a significant proportion of those screened to undergo follow-up studies. The … Continue reading 40-43 Otis Brawley: CMS Got it Right in Lung Cancer Screening Coverage Decision

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