California Blues covers new cervical cancer test

San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California now provides coverage for Digene Corp.'s Hybrid Capture HPV DNA test for the detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) to improve the detection of cervical cancer. Digene's test is the only FDA-approved test for the detection of HPV, the cause of essentially all cervical cancer, says the Beltsville, MD, biomedical company. Allowance is provided under the new 1998 American Medical Association Current Procedural Terminology code 87621, "HPV Amplified Probe Technology."

Digene's HPV DNA test provides two test results per patient, one for low-risk HPV detection and one for high-risk HPV detection. The Hybrid Capture HPV DNA test is designed to help physicians identify women most at risk of having or developing cervical disease and cervical cancer. It is currently used in the United States as an adjunct to the Pap smear for cervical cancer screening.