ACR to Congress: Pass CT colonography bill for CMS coverage
CT Colonoscopy. Image Source: TeraRecon
The American College of Radiology (ACR) is urging Congress to pass the Virtual Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act of 2010 (H.R. 5461) which would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide coverage of screening CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, to Medicare beneficiaries.

The bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., and cosponsors Reps. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., and Dan Boren, D-Okla., on May 28.

The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and to the Committee on Ways and Means, to be subsequently determined for consideration by the Speaker of the House.

Many private health insurers--including CIGNA, UnitedHealthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield--cover screening and diagnostic CT colonography for their beneficiaries, but Medicare does not cover the exam, ACR pointed out. The organization added that Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center has deemed that CT colonography is an effective screening tool.

“President [Barack] Obama…recently chose to be screened with CT colonography. The test works. Congress and the President need to make good on their promise to ensure that everyone has access to the same care,” said John A. Patti, MD, chair of the ACR board of chancellors. “Minorities disproportionately forgo screenings. Providing Medicare patients an effective and less invasive screening tool for colorectal cancer can help overcome the disparity in colorectal care that exists in minority communities.”