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Medicare Says No to covering 'virtual colonoscopy'

Posted May 13 2009 10:47pm

So much for all the supporters for using the process for screening I guess.  This has been debated for years and now it’s a no pay for Medicare.  Again, I guess it’s payment by treatment and not the health of the patient.  image

I could almost bet some of those folks at the VA who had the tests and are potential HIV or Hepatitis risks wished their procedure had been the virtual one, which brings up another good point with the virtual test, cleanliness.    I guess forget too about the articles in the New England Journal too, and I’m sure those were truthful as the cards stack pretty well in favor everywhere else.

From another recent article:

“More than 50 members of Congress have called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to support Medicare reimbursement for virtual colonoscopy citing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of virtual colonoscopy, the potential for this procedure to increase screening rates overall and close the racial gap in screening, and highlighting the unjustness of maintaining the status quo.

The Department of Defense already uses virtual colonoscopy to screen patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Most compellingly, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD has reported a 70 percent increase in screening rates for colorectal cancer after virtual colonoscopy was introduced as a screening option for patients. Including virtual colonoscopy as an option can remove barriers to colorectal cancer screening, save lives and potentially close the racial disparity in colorectal cancer screening.”

This is somewhat sad as they have now graduated to virtual biopsies too, which can identify whether or not a polyp is benign.  BD

Virtual biopsy can tell whether colon polyp is benign without removal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare won't pay for the so-called virtual colonoscopy procedure, concluding Tuesday that there's inadequate evidence to support the cheaper, less intrusive alternative to the dreaded colonoscopy.

Some experts had hoped that popularizing the X-ray procedure would boost screening for colon cancer, the country's second leading cancer killer. Screening to spot early cancer or precancerous growths has resulted in fewer deaths over the last two decades.

But in a decision posted on its Web site, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the test does not qualify for Medicare coverage. The memo noted that the procedure is performed on people without symptoms and cannot, in itself, rid a patient of precancerous growths, like a regular colonoscopy can.

The Associated Press: Medicare won't cover 'virtual colonoscopy'

Related Reading:

V.A. Hospital Patients Test Positive for Hepatitis – 18 So Far – Colonoscopy Tests with equipment not properly disinfected

HIV risk at Miami VA hospital – Colonoscopy equipment sterilization questioned
VA Warns Advises thousands to be tested for Hepatitis and HIV

Colonoscopies Not Recommended After Age 75

Colonoscopy Without the Scope – Study States CT Scan is Effective

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