The Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) and American College of Radiology (ACR) have called upon Congress to pass H.R. 4165—the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act. Passage of this bill would cover Medicare beneficiaries for the exam. The organizations referred to several studies to back their position.
The first, a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, reconfirmed that virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) is an effective screening tool for colorectal cancer in seniors age 65 and older. Other studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 and Radiology in 2012, reported similar benefits.
CCA and ACR also noted that studies at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Naval Medical Center in San Diego have shown that the availability of the virtual exam significantly boosted colorectal cancer screening rates.
“Currently, many of America’s seniors do not have access to virtual colonoscopy because it is not covered under Medicare. This is alarming considering the exam has the potential to boost screening rates and ultimately save lives. When President Obama was screened for colorectal cancer he chose to undergo a virtual colonoscopy, yet those Americans who rely upon Medicare do not have that choice. Congress has been given a chance to make a difference in the lives of many Americans. I hope lawmakers act now and support the passage of H.R. 4165,” Andrew Spiegel, CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance, said in a release.
“The ACR has made significant strides in the fight to make virtual colonoscopy a reality for America’s seniors. The exam is now endorsed by the American Cancer Society as a recommended screening test, and major insurers, including CIGNA, UnitedHealthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, now cover it. The college encourages Congress and lawmakers to support Medicare coverage of virtual colonoscopy and pass H.R. 4165,” Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, added.