Medicare Announces Groundbreaking Draft Decision on Lung Screening Coverage - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 12, 2014

Medicare Announces Groundbreaking Draft Decision on Lung Screening Coverage

Crozer-Keystone Offers Delco’s Leading Lung Screening Program

 

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Mary Wascavage
(610) 284-8619
Mary.Wascavage@crozer.org

SPRINGFIELD, PA — On Nov. 10, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a draft decision memo that would require Medicare to cover the cost of low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening for high-risk Medicare beneficiaries between the ages of 55 and 74.

Medicare Lung Coverage Announcement

Schedule your lung screening by calling
1-866-5-CK-XRAY. A physician's order is
required. Call 1-800-CK-HEALTH to find a
CKHS doctor who is right for you.

Crozer-Keystone Health System was an early adopter and first in Delaware County to offer a comprehensive lung screening program with follow-up medical care. For just $125, high-risk patients receive a low-dose CT scan that can detect lung cancer in early stages—when the tumors are smaller in size and more likely to be curable. Earlier detection of cancer, especially in people who do not have symptoms, offers a chance for cure.

Since Crozer-Keystone launched its lung cancer screening program in November 2012, 182 people have had a low-dose CT scan. Four of those patients tested positive for cancer. In fact, one patient, Ronald Goryl of Aston, underwent surgery alone with no need for chemotherapy or radiation afterward. Today, he is cancer-free.

Crozer-Keystone also offers support services of a lung nurse navigator, Patti Hollenback, R.N., B.S.N., OCN. Hollenback remains with patients through every step of their screening evaluation and, if needed, treatment process. Her patients say that they do not know what they would have done without her. Additional services include smoking cessation support and access to the “60 for 60” program at the Healthplex® Sports Club in Springfield, where, for $60 over 60 days, certified exercise specialists are available to work with cancer patients and survivors.

“We are on the front line every day delivering responsible screening in our community,” says Eric Rubin, M.D., radiologist at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “We are pleased that CMS recognizes the value of this lifesaving work, and through this coverage decision will ensure that many more high-risk patients will have access to screening.” “Too many people are diagnosed with lung cancer when it is no longer curable,” adds Stacey Su, M.D., thoracic surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center and director of Thoracic Surgical Oncology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Crozer-Keystone’s lung screening program affords high-risk patients among our friends and families a chance for earlier diagnosis and improved survival.”

The CMS decision means that approximately four million Medicare beneficiaries who fit the eligibility criteria for screening will now be covered. It is largely aligned with the recommendations submitted to CMS in September by a coalition led by Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), the nation’s first and leading lung cancer patient advocacy organization; American College of Radiology (ACR); Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and nearly 100 other professional societies, public health organizations, medical centers and patient groups. Crozer-Keystone was a signatory to the letter.

High-risk patients who will benefit from a lung cancer screening include those who:

  • Are between the ages of 55 and 74, and who are current or former smokers with at least a 30 pack year smoking history. A “pack year” is the number of packs smoked daily multiplied by the number of years smoking; therefore, an eligible person could have smoked one pack a day for 30 years; or two packs a day for 15 years, etc.).
  • Are former smokers who have quit within the last 15 years.
  • Are currently in fairly good health (as determined by discussion between you and a qualified healthcare professional).

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Pennsylvania has the third-highest rates of lung cancer in the nation, and Delaware County ranks third in the Commonwealth. More lives will be saved as a direct result of CMS’ efforts.

Except for the final ruling, the CMS draft decision is the last major piece in a long series of validations reaffirming the lifesaving benefits of lung cancer screening. Lung cancer screening was scientifically proven in 2010 by one of the largest randomized controlled trials in the history of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  NCI’s National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) confirmed that screening can reduce overall death from lung cancer by at least 20 percent.

Lung Screening Program

Crozer-Keystone Health System has developed a Lung Screening Program using low-dose CT scans. The program follows the high risk inclusion criteria as established by the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial.

To find out more information about lung screening, call 1-866-5-CK-XRAY (1-866-525-9729), or call nurse navigator Patti Hollenback, R.N., B.S.N., OCN at (610) 447-2655. To learn more about Crozer-Keystone’s lung cancer screening program, visit http://lungscreening.crozerkeystone.org.

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