Medicare expanded its coverage of positron emission tomography, or PET, for the first time since December 2000 to include thyroid cancer and potential cardiac diseases. The CMS also said that it is designing a demonstration project to evaluate the feasibility of using PET for patients with suspected dementia and will convene an expert panel to explore the technology's value in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease. CMS rejected extending PET coverage to soft tissue sarcoma, a rare type of cancer. PET scans already are reimbursed for the diagnosis, staging and restaging of several cancers, including lung, esophageal, colorectal and breast, among others. Coverage won't become effective for at least six months when written instructions are provided to the CMS' contractors, a spokesman said. -- by Cinda Becker
Medicare to cover new PET uses, will study more
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