The recent decision by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to add virtual colonoscopy (VC) as another acceptable screening exam for the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer for adults aged 50 years or older is a step in the right direction toward Medicare reimbursement for the procedure, according to the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA.
“I think we have known about the promise of virtual colonoscopy for a long time and now the evidence, such as the ACRIN trial, is overwhelming for the effectiveness of virtual colonoscopy,” Andrew Whitman, vice president, MITA, told Health Imaging News. “We are hopeful that CMS would look to these guidelines as a positive indication that VC should be included in the Medicare screening benefit for reimbursement.”
“With the use of 3D medical images, VCs allow physicians to more accurately detect and prevent colon cancer,” Whitman said. “Many innovative imaging technologies, such as VCs, are highly effective tools that are helping physicians diagnose disease earlier resulting in better patient health outcomes.”
Whitman added that the industry is hopeful this new technology will encourage more Americans, especially those uncomfortable with the traditional colon screening method performed with an optical scope, to be screened for colon cancer.
“We hold this as something that will be truly beneficial for patients in preventing colon cancer,” Whitman said. “This is another area where it shows how imaging is effective for the early detection and prevention of disease.”