Lung Cancer Screening: Small Victories and Saved Lives

Ella KazerooniThis post contributed by Ella Kazerooni, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Committee.

As you read in this week’s Advocacy in Action e-news, Medicare announced that it will pay for low-dose CT lung cancer screening exams performed for eligible patients in independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs).

You may also have seen that more than 45 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to the Secretary of the Department Health and Human Services and HHS Administrator warning against any cuts to Medicare lung cancer screening reimbursement.

With the speed at which LCS was approved for Medicare coverage, many of the coverage details are still being figured out as we go. These small victories are intermingled with the struggle for fair payment, building infrastructure and educating referring providers about which patients benefit most from these exams and why.

There is still much left to do to fulfill lung cancer screening’s promise to save more lives than any cancer screening test in history.

The ACR is working with others to make sure that the work gets done. We are working to reduce false positives, educate lawmakers and regulators, and promote use of Lung-RADS® and the Lung Cancer Screening Registry. All of these are necessary to support the ongoing launch of screening programs nationwide.

We are also working to make sure you have the tools to perform these exams in the safest, most effective manner possible.

Please visit the Lung Cancer Screening Resources section on the ACR site for resources to help you inform referring physicians and patients about lung cancer screening and improve the screening you may already be providing.

I would like to know:

  • Would additional cuts in reimbursement for LDCTs keep your practice from starting a lung cancer screening program?
  • Would additional cuts in reimbursement for LDCTs in the outpatient setting cause your hospital to no longer offer this service?
  • How is your practice saving lives by implementing a lung cancer screening program? Have you learned anything that you think may help others get theirs off the ground?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

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