Report: US Spending On False-Positive Mammograms, Breast Cancer Overdiagnoses Estimated At $4 Billion Annually

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
According to the AP (4/7, Alonso-Zaldivar), “a new report estimates that the U.S. spends $4 billion a year on unnecessary medical costs due to mammograms that generate false alarms, and on treatment of certain breast tumors unlikely to cause problems.” The research, published in “Health Affairs, breaks the cost down as follows: $2.8 billion resulting from false-positive mammograms and another $1.2 billion attributed to breast cancer overdiagnosis,” which is “the treatment of tumors that grow slowly or not at all, and are unlikely to develop into life-threatening disease during a woman’s lifetime.”

CMS Holds to Screening/Diagnostic NCCI Edits

Friday, March 20, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has rejected the American College of Radiology’s request to delete the newly implemented NCCI edits for screening and diagnostic mammography performed on the same patient on the same date of service. Please refer to the 3/20/15 Advocacy in Action eNews piece for coding guidance when both screening and diagnostic mammography is performed, and a copy of the CMS letter advising how these procedures should be reported. 

ACR Supports Legislation Seeking To Boost Transparency At USPSTF

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
HealthImaging (3/18) reports that “the American College of Radiology (ACR) has thrown its support behind legislation that seeks to boost transparency in the work of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).” The legislation “would also change the grading and recommendation process in light of the fact that USPSTF grades have such a substantial impact on coverage policies.” In a statement, the ACR said, “USPSTF recommendations were initially intended to provide supplementary guidance to primary care physicians, but they are now used to influence national screening program guidelines, federal and private sector coverage policies, and direct-to-consumer screening recommendations.” 

Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) introduced the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1151)

Friday, March 13, 2015
This bi-partisan legislation proposes greater transparency and new opportunities for public input into the work of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). 

Adding DBT To Mammography May Yield Millions In US Healthcare Cost Savings

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Aunt Minnie (1/15, Yee) reports that a study conducted by Truven Health Analytics and published online Jan. 12 in the journal ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research suggests that “by reducing recalls and catching breast cancer earlier, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) could yield hundreds of millions of dollars in US healthcare cost savings if it were added to mammography for annual breast cancer screening.” After estimating “the financial impact of using DBT along with digital mammography for annual screening in a hypothetical US managed care plan with one million members,” researchers found that use of DBT “would result in overall savings of $2.4 million per year for the plan.” Extrapolating the results further, the study authors concluded that “DBT could lead to as much as half a billion dollars in annual savings if it were used for the approximately 19 million screening mammograms performed annually in the US.”