As you may or may not be aware, Medicare was actually considering punishing physicians for ordering PSA blood tests for patients who did not fall into the Medicare approved categories. The considered policy was posted and there was an opportunity for comments from the public. The reaction was as violent and voluminous as it was one-sided and was a great defense for the patient-physician relationship in general as well as specifically a lifeline to the continued appropriate detection and treatment of prostate cancer. The update on the Medicare website is quoted below.
“Update as of March 24, 2016
As a result of public comment, CMS has temporarily suspended development of the draft measure “Non-Recommended Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)-Based Screening”. CMS will continue to solicit input from multiple stakeholders, including specialty societies, to determine whether a re-structured appropriate use PSA measure should be developed. If CMS determines that a different measure should be developed, any new proposed measure would be sent to the Measures Application Partnership again for its review. CMS will continue to evaluate appropriate use measure concepts to address overuse and patient safety on prostate cancer screening, as well as additional measure gap areas.”
The urologic community led by the American Urological Association is acutely aware of what the research has now shown and the entire approach by most urologists in detecting and treating prostate cancer has already changed. A treatment category in which a prostate cancer is not expected to cause problems for a patient called Active Surveillance has been created and exists to withhold treatment for prostate cancer for patients who don’t need it as of yet and to follow their progress closely enough to try to detect changes in the expectations if they occur.
As I studied the Medicare proposal and planned and executed my response, I was happy not only to see this diverse prostate cancer involved community come together, but also for Medicare to have open ears and respond reasonably to the reaction. PSA blood testing can easily be done and can be ordered by Las Vegas Urologists such as Dr. Newman.