Capitol Hill Cheat Sheet 2016
All you need to know for Hill Day
On Wednesday, ACR members head to Capitol Hill to discuss issues at the intersection of patient care and legislation. Here are the big issues members raised with their representatives during ACR 2016.
Radiology advocacy had quite the year in 2015. Members’ lobbying efforts paid off when the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which lowered the professional component multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) from 25 percent to 5 percent and placed a two-year moratorium on flawed USPSTF breast cancer screening recommendations. Radiologists on the hill this year will be thanking their representatives for their support in getting these important provisions in the final legislation.
Radiologists will also be asking their representatives to cosponsor the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act. This bipartisan legislation would reform the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) membership, research methodology, and public comment process.
USPSTF recommendations play a prominent role in CMS coverage decisions and preventive service coverage requirements for private insurers. The ACR and many others in the research and medical community believe that the task force should embrace the public transparency and accountability protections mandated on traditional government agencies under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. This would require the task force do the following:
• Be transparent in its methodology
• Disclose the input it received as part of its public comment periods and explain its analysis of the public comments
• Provide rationale for accepting or rejecting the input provided by the public
There is no better example of the negative consequences of the current recommendation process than the USPSTF’s 2009 and 2016 screening mammography recommendations. These recommendations were not based on solid research and lead to massive patient confusion about the value and timing of screening mammography. The ACR continues to oppose these recommendations and push for a reformed USPSTF process.
Members will also solicit cosponsors for the CT Colonography (CTC) Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act. Another piece of bipartisan legislation, the act would require Medicare to cover CTC, also known as virtual colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States. While Medicare pays for several colorectal cancer screening procedures, including optical colonoscopy, it does not currently cover CTC. Studies have proven that CTC is as effective and comparable in cost to optical colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer is extremely curable when caught early enough through colorectal cancer screening. However, screening rates for colorectal cancer are just below 60 percent in most parts of the country. A contributing factor to poor patient screening rates may be the invasiveness of standard optical colonoscopies. Inclusion of the minimally invasive CTC under Medicare could increase compliance rates among those eligible for the exam, potentially saving lives.
If you’d like more help with your visit to Hill Day, download the ACR Radiology Advocacy Network app (available on the app store and Google Play), which includes key talking points, a congressional directory, and more.
Couldn’t make it to Capitol Hill Day? Consider hosting a site visit for your representatives.