American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

ACS Sends Letter of Support for Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) sent a March 19 letter of support to Congress for the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, H.R. 1570/S. 668. This legislation, sponsored by Reps. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Donald McEachin (D-VA), and David McKinley (R-WV) in the House, and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate, would eliminate an unintended cost barrier to lifesaving colorectal cancer screening for Medicare beneficiaries.

At present, Medicare waives coinsurance and deductibles for preventative colonoscopies. However, when a polyp is discovered and removed, the procedure is reclassified as therapeutic for the purposes of Medicare billing and patients are therefore required to make a copayment. This bipartisan legislation would waive Medicare’s cost-sharing requirement for preventative colonoscopies even if a polyp or tissue is removed, ensuring that the threat of unanticipated costs does not deter a patient from having the screening performed. By removing this financial barrier, this legislation likely will help increase screening rates and reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.

The ACS remains committed to working with Congress and the Administration to address this problem with the overall goal of empowering patients, lowering cost, and improving the quality of health care.

Read a copy of the letter. For more information on this topic, contact Mark Lukaszewski, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at mlukaszewski@facs.org.