The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) in response to their draft recommendations for lung cancer screening released on July 7. Annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in high-risk patients significantly reduces lung cancer deaths and can help identify cancers at an early, treatable and curable stage. The updated USPSTF lung cancer screening guidelines will greatly increase the number of Americans eligible for screening and help medical providers save thousands more lives each year.
The ACR strongly supports the USPSTF proposal to lower the starting age for screening from 55 to 50 and the smoking history requirements from 30 pack-years to 20 pack-years. To facilitate additional expansion of access to this lifesaving screening, the ACR is encouraging the USPSTF to further broaden screening eligibility requirements to include critical metrics designed to enhance opportunities for minorities and women, such as removing the 15-year smoking cessation quit date.
Moving forward, the ACR will continue to engage with the USPSTF and other government entities addressing access to lung cancer screening. The Taskforce will review and address all comments received and vote on the final recommendation statement. Once complete, the final recommendation and evidence summary are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Insurance plans will have one year to comply with the updated recommendation statement. The Affordable Care Act requires private health insurers to provide, without patient cost-sharing, all preventive services that earn grades of A or B in USPSTF recommendations. Coverage is determined by payors and policymakers. For Medicare beneficiaries, coverage and reimbursement considerations will be handled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Coverage and Analysis Group. Based on the updated recommendation statement, it is likely the 2015 National Coverage Determination for lung cancer screening with LCDT will require updates.