University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison has bucked national CT colonography (CTC) non reimbursement policy and delivered the exam as a screening option for eligible patients since 2004. Credit for the unique program largely rests with Perry J. Pickhardt, MD, UW radiologist. The program also demonstrates the power of radiology leadership.
Radiologists can work with payers and clinicians to provide CT colonography as an option for eligible patients, insists Pickhardt. At UW, the effort has effectively increased overall screening rates.
Key to the program’s success is the support of the gastroenterology department. “Our gastroenterologists have seen how well CTC fits into our overall screening strategy and are no longer threatened by our presence,” says Pickhardt. Instead of viewing CTC and colonoscopy as competing procedures, gastroenterologists and radiologists are working toward the same goal: 100 percent colorectal cancer screening compliance.
The other essential player is the local payer community. Pickhardt and other UW stakeholders have educated local HMOs about CTC benefits and all cover the exam.
His advice for his colleagues is simple. “Until Medicare initiates coverage for CTC screening, other radiology practices could try to emulate our path by seeking out local reimbursement for CTC screening—using our experience as a positive precedent.”
For more details about the UW program, please watch the following video: