November 17, 2017

Breast Density Bill Would Set Federal Standard

On October 25, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced in the Senate and House respectively, legislation that would require mammogram reports and patient summaries to include information about breast density.

The bills would set a minimum federal standard, as designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), for notification and would recommend women discuss with their doctors whether additional screening is necessary.

Specifically, the legislation would mandate that the patient summary required under the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) “convey the effect of breast density in masking the presence of breast cancer on mammography, using the provider’s qualitative assessment of breast density.” Further, the summary would be required to include language, developed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with leading experts and leading cancer organizations, communicating that individuals with dense breasts should talk with their physicians about any questions or concerns regarding the summary and whether the patient might benefit from additional tests.

The bill would also direct HHS to study improved screening options for women with dense tissue, including research on “cost-effectiveness, effectiveness and feasibility of reimbursement models for supplemental imaging related to breast density … and research in support of clinical guidelines and best practices concerning use of mammograms and supplemental screening for women with dense breasts.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the last Congress.