ACR calls for separate tomosynthesis coverage

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 - breast tomosynthesis
58-year-old woman with invasive ductal carcinoma (arrows) detected on screening mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).
Source: American Journal of Roentgenology

The American College of Radiology (ACR) issued a statement this week calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and private insurers to cover beneficiaries for breast tomosynthesis.

The college based its support for the technology on research showing tomosynthesis improves key screening parameters compared with digital mammography.

“The medical community has long sought ways to improve breast cancer screening accuracy. Better sensitivity will likely translate into more lives saved. Lower recall rates result in fewer patients who may experience short-term anxiety awaiting test results,” wrote the ACR.

Last November, CMS took the position that tomosynthesis could not be billed separately as it was considered an integral part of digital mammography, an opinion the ACR opposed.

CMS will issue a decision in October regarding assigned RVU values for tomosynthesis and ultimately whether it will pay for it separately from digital mammography.

The ACR added: “While the College encourages more studies to clarify the clinical role(s) of tomosynthesis and its long-term outcomes, it is fairly clear that tomosynthesis represents an important advance in breast imaging.”