A CMS decision not to extend colon-cancer screening coverage to include CT colonography tests, or CTC, has prompted a sharp rebuke by the American College of Radiology.
For CMS to turn its back to a technology that can attract more patients to be screened and save countless lives is deeply concerning, said ACR Board of Chancellors Chairman James Thrall in a written statement. CMS should reverse this determination immediately or Congress should step in and vote to mandate coverage. In a news release, the ACR noted that CTC, which is less invasive than current colonoscopy screening, has the potential to increase colon cancer screening rates among minorities and groups that cannot afford private insurance coverage. Several private insurers currently cover CTC screenings.
Issued Tuesday, the CMS coverage policy memo determined that evidence was inadequate to conclude that CTC is an appropriate colorectal cancer screening test under the Social Security Act. The decision memo cites several reasons for the determination, including an insufficient number of studies on CTC screening accuracy that included Medicare-aged participants and insufficient proof that CTC screening improves the health benefits for asymptomatic, average-risk Medicare beneficiaries.