A resolution regarding colorectal cancer screening that stalled in a House committee in May 2018 remains important, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), which is working with the new Congress to keep the legislation alive.
“For the 116th Congress, we will once again work with [a] larger coalition to pursue the most effective solution to ensuring patient access to screening colonoscopies that save lives,” says Heather Falen Ashby, director of government affairs for ASCA.
The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2017 would waive Medicare coinsurance requirements involving colorectal cancer screening tests, regardless of whether the code billed was for a diagnosis or procedure.
Ashby explains that under current law, Medicare waives coinsurance and deductibles for screening colonoscopies as a preventive procedure.
However, when a surgeon discovers and removes a polyp, the procedure is reclassified as therapeutic for Medicare billing purposes. Thus, patients have to pay the coinsurance. This is an unexpected cost for Medicare beneficiaries, which might deter patients from undergoing the screening procedure.
The ASCA calls on Congress to pass legislation closing this loophole and helping reduce colorectal cancer.
According to the CDC, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women.