Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013, calling for changes to the process by which USPSTF makes formal recommendations for preventive care services.
The legislation, also known as HR 2143, received support from both the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) and the American Urological Association (AUA).
HR 2143 would eliminate language from the Affordable Care Act that ties Medicare coverage of a particular preventive service to a grade given by the USPSTF, as well as ensure the task force includes members with clinical and health research field experience.
Other changes to USPSTF’s process would include:
- Allowing public comment on proposed research plans, evidence review and proposed recommendations on specific preventive services;
- Reforming grade scale definitions;
- Requiring task force members to disclose conflicts of interest with regard to products or services under review;
- Consideration of findings and research by federal agencies and departments, and consultation with provider and patient representatives; and
- Elimination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ authority to exempt non-graded or insufficiently-graded services from Medicare coverage.
“Transparency and efficiency are paramount, given the impact of the Task Force’s decisions on the millions of patients who rely on life-saving advanced imaging technologies for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of cancers and other deadly diseases each year,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC, in a press release.
AUA President Pramod Sogani, MD, said, “Recommendations about preventive care services should take into account feedback from the specialists who treat these conditions and decisions should take place in the context of a doctor-patient relationship.”