RSNA: The big chill—USPSTF recommendations deter women from screening

CHICAGO—The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on mammography screening had a chilling effect on the willingness of women to get screened, David C. Levin, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said during a presentation at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) on Nov. 27.

Levin and colleagues designed an analysis to determine the effect of USPSTF recommendations on the use of mammography screening, focusing on Medicare beneficiaries. The researchers used the Medicare Part B Physician Supplier Procedure Summary Master Files for 2005 to 2010 and tabulated global and professional component claims based on screening mammography codes.

They calculated utilization rates per 1,000 female beneficiaries and observed a gradual progressive increase in screening mammography utilization from 2005 through 2009. This translated into a compound annual growth rate of 0.9 percent.

“There was an abrupt drop in utilization in 2010,” Levin continued. This produced a 4.3 percent drop in the compound annual growth rate.

“It isn’t entirely clear what accounted for the drop,” Levin said. It may have been that women older than 74 years were adhering to the guidelines and not getting screened, or women may have extended the screening interval from one year to two years.