The following post was contributed by Judy Yee, MD, FACR, chair of the American College of Radiology Colon Cancer Committee.
If you think the American College of Radiology is on a mission when it comes to securing Medicare coverage of CT colonography (CTC) for colorectal screening—it is.
ACR continues to work with major colorectal cancer advocacy groups, minority health care associations and other medical societies, and this week—in unison—we urged Congress to pass the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act (HR 1298). Studies (U.S. and abroad) show CTC use increases screening rates and lowers costs—we know that early detection saves lives. Unfortunately, Medicare refuses to cover CTC, even though it is an American Cancer Society-recommended exam.
Together, we want to move the needle closer to a new reality. Remember, it was just this past June that the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recognized CT colonography among a list of colorectal cancer screening options that received an “A” rating from the government body—after years of promoting this minimally invasive screening option with federal and regulatory representatives. For now, under the Affordable Care Act, this means private insurers are required to cover CTC and the other USPSTF-recognized screening options.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the disease and the need for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure as well as to support those affected by colorectal cancer. As part of this effort, members of the ACR Colon Committee discussed virtual colonoscopy as an option for colorectal cancer screening with multiple broadcast reporters on March 1.
We also need your continued support. This month:
- Offer CT colonography to your providers and patients as an option to help increase CRC screening rates
- Take advantage of ACR resources, such as
- The ACR Education Center: CT Colonography
- Appropriateness Criteria for colorectal cancer screening
- CT Colonography Registry
- ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards
- Scholarly and clinical research
- Use downloadable Facebook and Twitter covers to show support
- Refer your patients with questions about virtual colonoscopy to org/VirtualCT
- Follow ACR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and share or like posts, which use the hashtag #virtualCT (virtual colonoscopy)
Patient advocates will be using cheeky sayings (“Get your rear in gear” or “Hut, hut, check your butt) to mobilize and bring attention to colorectal cancer screening. When it comes to Medicare coverage for CTC, ACR is not taking any if, ands or buts.
Can you describe your successful CT colonography practice and share any practical pointers?
What do your patients tell you about their screening?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and/or join the discussion on Engage (login required).