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| 1 minute read

Praise for new lung cancer screening guidelines - but with recommendations for improvement

National medical specialty societies whose membership serves patients with or at risk for lung cancer, along with lung cancer patient advocacy groups, have high praise for the new national coverage determination (NCD) on low dose lung cancer screening issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS), which was announced on February 10. Our summary is here, but more, they say, needs to be done.

In their statement released last Friday, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said they, along with the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, will work with CMS, other medical providers, and those patients seeking care to implement and update screening recommendations.

To broaden access to lung cancer screening for those who need it and optimize the lifesaving ability of these exams, ACR recommends that CMS, payers, and providers work together to simplify and streamline patient workflow, and reduce documentation and other administrative burdens on providers and institutions.

Specifically, ACR recommends further steps that CMS should take:

  • continue Medicare coverage for older current and former smokers past age 78.
  • continue coverage for beneficiaries who stopped smoking more than 15 years prior.
  • inform future screening improvements by reinstating registry participation requirements (which were eliminated in the revised NCD).
  • drop the requirement for a shared decision-making session prior to the first screening, which ACR contends remains a current barrier to care.

In ACR's press release, Laurie Fenton Ambrose, co-founder, President and CEO of GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, is quoted about the ongoing efforts ahead: "We know we can save more lives and will continue to work with CMS to remove barriers and improve access to screening for the people this preventive service is intended to help, particularly the underserved. Our work to achieve equitable access of this lifesaving preventive service will not wane.”

In addition to lowering the initial screening age from 55 to 50, and smoking history requirements from 30 pack years to 20 pack years, CMS expanded coverage to thousands of independent diagnostic testing facilities nationwide and retained a requirement that providers use Lung-RADS® structured reporting.   


health care & life sciences, medicare, screening, idtf