Proposed CMS Decision released, November 10, 2014: See here
Last winter, the United States Public Services Task Force (USPSTF
) issued a Grade B recommendation that low dose CT scans provide a health benefit in the age 50-80 population, who have > 30 pack years of smoking and who currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago (see report here
.) Under the Affordable Care Act, commercial insurers will be required to offer this benefit, without copays, in a year or two.
In February, Medicare opened a decision analysis on whether to add this benefit to the Medicare program. Medicare has undertaken this process and concurred with the USPSTF recommendation in numerous NCDs since 2010. On April 30, Medicare held a public panel - a MedCAC advisory board - to discuss the low dose CT screening benefit for Medicare patients. The Medicare panelist gave strikingly low votes
that they had confidence the benefits would exceed the risks and uncertainties in the Medicare population.
My detailed notes on the meeting can be downloaded from online here
. [50 pages including key figures presented, websites, and footnotes for most of the articles cited by speakers. At the link, see the upper left arrow for 'download.']
(Update 9/24/2014: The CMS transcript of the full session, word for word, is now online here
For a brief trade journal review, the MedPageToday summary is here
. The Lung Cancer Alliance immediately expressed its "deep disappointment
" with the panel's vote.