December 17, 2021

Physician and Patient Groups Submit Joint Letter About CMS Lung Cancer Screening Proposed Decision

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®), the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons submitted comments Dec. 17 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that include recommendations to improve the next iteration of Medicare lung cancer screening coverage requirements. Many of the ACR’s recommendations to strengthen coverage as proposed in March and June joint society comment letters have not been incorporated into the proposed decision memo released Nov. 17. The letter reinforces previous comments made to strengthen coverage for lung cancer screening.

The organizations urge CMS in the letter to:

  • Delete the annual screening eligibility criterion that discontinues screening once an individual reaches age 78.
  • Delete the screening eligibility criterion that discontinues annual screening for individuals who quit smoking for more than 15 years.
  • Remove the “Counseling and Shared Decision Making” requirement to ensure the current National Coverage Determination (NCD) language does not act as a barrier to screening uptake.
  • Maintain the Radiology Imaging Facility Eligibility Criteria for Quality Assurance.

The ACR will continue to track changes to the NCD for Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography. The CMS tracking sheet indicates the agency will complete its national coverage analysis by Feb. 15.

If you have questions about lung cancer screening coverage or the NCD process, contact Alicia Blakey, ACR Senior Economic Policy Analyst.