April 08, 2016

ACR Pushes for Medicare CT Colonography Coverage

The American College of Radiology (ACR) Colon Cancer Committee and supporting public affairs and government relations teams ramped up efforts to gain Medicare coverage for CT Colonography during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (March). To date, this integrated campaign has reached at 220 million readers, viewers and listeners.1

Calling for Congressional Action

With ACR backing, the House of Representatives version of the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act (H.R. 4632/S. 2262), which would provide Medicare CTC coverage, was introduced March 2. The College, the National Medical Society, the nation’s largest African-American medical association, and primary colorectal cancer care advocacy groups: the Colon Cancer Alliance, Colon Cancer Coalition and Prevent Cancer Foundation issued a joint press release calling on Congress to pass the legislation. The ACR now calls on members and other radiology professionals to contact legislators to support the bill.

Please share this call to action with your patients. Colon cancer care and minority health care advocates have already been encouraged to share the call to action with their members.

Talking to Radio Reporters

On March 2, members of the ACR Colon Cancer committee took part in a radio media tour explaining the benefits of CTC, how to prepare for the exam and the need for Medicare coverage of these exams to reporters in 18 large markets nationwide — including Chicago, Boston, Dallas, New York and Sirius/XM satellite programs. ACR Colon Cancer Committee members Cecelia Brewington, MD, and Mark Klein, MD, participated in these radio interviews. To date, these interviews have been heard by nearly 2.5 million people. Two radio public service announcements have reached 8 million more listeners and are expected to reach up to 20 million by the end of their run. ACR Colon Cancer Committee member Jorge Soto, MD, was featured in a radio media tour with Spanish language radio stations nationwide. Dr. Soto and the ACR materials created for these interviews directed listeners to the Spanish RadiologyInfo.org CTC section, the ACR Spanish CTC brochure and the RadiologyInfo.org Spanish site. Final audience numbers are not yet available for these interviews, but they are expected to reach up to 8 million more listeners.

Promoting CTC

A CTC educational article appeared in nearly 1,200 print/online medium and small markets news outlets nationwide with a combined unique monthly visitor total of more than 145 million readers. Meanwhile, ACR Voice of Radiology (VOR) blog posts are crosslinked on all ACR social media accounts. A Feb. 22 VOR post by ACR Colon Cancer Committee member Mark Klein, MD, shared his personal colorectal cancer story and set the tone for ACR’s March efforts. Dr. Klein’s post received nearly 9,000 views. A March 17 VOR post by ACR Chief Executive Officer William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, shared the virtues of CTC and again urged members to contact their representatives and senators to support the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act. Dr. Thorwarths’s call to action has been viewed nearly 17,000 times to date.

Reaching Patients

ACR interviews and materials created to support this effort point to the CT Colonography section of RadiologyInfo.org as well as to the updated ACR CTC resources section with the latest coverage news, clinical research and other CTC information. New additions include:

  • Lobby/waiting room CTC brochure (English and Spanish) and
  • An online video featuring Cecelia Brewington, MD, of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, explaining CTC risks vs. benefits, how to prepare for the exam and which insurers presently cover the test.
These materials have been offered to colorectal cancer advocacy groups and minority health care advocates to share with their respective constituencies.

ACR members and other radiology professionals are encouraged to download the brochures and make them available to patients and link to the CTC video on their websites.

Delivering CTC Messages on Social Media

ACR social media accounts delivered an integrated campaign spotlighting CTC during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. ACR developed a unique hashtag (#virtualCT); it was seen by more than 800,000 individuals. The National Medical Society, Colon Cancer Alliance, Colon Cancer Coalition and Prevent Cancer Foundation all tweeted and/or retweeted information about CTC.

  • Facebook views on CTC posts topped 158,000
  • Twitter posts on CTC hit more than 109,000
  • LinkedIn views totaled 17,939
  • ACR CTC resource webpage—which provided downloadable Facebook and Twitter profile banners for use—hit more than 900 views (tripling number set in 2015)
  • Instagram (initiated in 2016) CTC-related photos and images gained nearly 200 likes
  • 200 views of new CTC video on YouTube

The College will continue to work with allied organizations to pursue Medicare coverage, and wider private insurance coverage for CT colonography. The ACR will continue to keep members informed of any important developments on this very important issue.


1 - This includes the average monthly visitors and total circulation for print news outlets as well as the listening audience for broadcast news outlets.