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Editor's e-Note
If the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decide to cover low-dose CT screening for individuals at high risk of lung cancer, it will provide a period of greater access to the screening tool. That time period may offer some clarity as screening’s growth produces new study data about screening’s effect on lung cancer mortality—unless those data question its life-saving potential. What will CMS do? I don’t know, but either way, don’t expect this screening issue to be settled anytime soon. Politics, emotion, and economics are just as much a part of this issue as data.

— Jim Knaub, editor
e-News Exclusive
Waiting for CMS to Rule on Lung Cancer Screening
By Jim Knaub

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will approve or deny low-dose CT lung cancer screening for Medicare patients at high risk of lung cancer—possibly as soon as next month. Both sides in the debate are waiting for that clarity.

Medicare coverage of screening would provide seniors coverage similar to what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires for individuals covered by private insurance. In 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gave CT lung cancer screening a “B” recommendation for people between the ages of 55 and 80 with a minimum 30-pack-year history of smoking, which led to the coverage requirement by the ACA. However, the USPSTF’s recommendation does not mandate CMS coverage.

Full story »
Other Imaging News
Contrast-Enhanced CT Safe for Most Patients
According to a new study, which appears in the online journal Radiology, iodine-based contrast material injected intravenously to enhance CT images can be safely used in most patients.

Study Reveals Intravascular Ultrasound-Guided Intervention
Shows Improved Outcomes in Chronic Total Coronary Artery Occlusion

A new study found that intravascular ultrasound-guided intervention in patients with chronic total occlusion could improve outcomes compared with a conventional angiography-guided approach during percutaneous coronary intervention.

CT Scan Is No More Accurate Than Ultrasound To Detect Kidney Stones
A recent study found that CT scans, which expose patients to a significant amount of radiation, are no more effective in diagnosing kidney stones in the emergency rooms of hospitals than ultrasound, which is not commonly used.

Brain Imaging Research Identifies Neurobiological Basis
for Key Symptoms Associated With PTSD

Using a brain imaging technique, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center say they have linked an opioid receptor in the brain to a narrow cluster of trauma symptoms and this could lead to more personalized treatment of PTSD, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
In This e-Newsletter
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Adding Value
Value-based care has created a need for radiologists to rethink their roles. While image interpretation remains a radiologist’s core contribution, many are finding other ways to add value to patient care. Read more »

Knowing the Score
In addition to identifying typical risk factors, cardiologists are increasingly turning to coronary artery calcium scoring obtained with a noncontrast CT scan of the heart in selected patients as one of the best available tests to refine cardiac risk assessment. Read more »

Automated Breast Ultrasound
As dense breast notification mandates continue to gain traction across the country, this diagnostic tool has begun to gain acceptance as an approved adjunct to screening mammography in women with dense breasts. As a result, more imaging facilities are now considering installing their own systems but first must consider factors such as workflow and cost. Read more »
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Worth Repeating
“The infrastructure is in place to help ensure the quality, safety, and consistency of these exams. Medicare just needs to provide coverage to support these efforts and help physicians save lives.”

— Douglas E. Wood, MD, immediate past president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, on Medicare covering low-dose CT screenings for those that may be at high risk of lung cancer
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