Medical imaging societies ask CMS to cover more PET scans

A group of seven medical imaging societies have come together to protest a limit CMS imposes on PET scanning for initial patient treatment evaluations. The groups would like to see CMS expand coverage to two FDG PET scans for evaluation, as opposed to the one it now covers.

The groups, which include the American College of Nuclear Medicine, American College of Radiology and the Academy of Molecular Imaging, argue that in some cases, a second PET scan would be necessary for appropriate clinical practice in some instances, including when a PET is used for diagnosis or staging of a tumor, and the treatment planned is radiation therapy. Another case might be if a patient with newly-diagnosed cancer has to delay treatment, necessitating a second look at their disease state.

Still another instance in which a second PET might be needed would be if a first PET evaluated a lesion and the results came back false-negative. When the firmly-diagnosed patient comes back, the groups note, the PET will be necessary to complete initial staging prior to treating that lesion.

While the letter doesn't reference this research, a prior study suggested that use of PET scanning changed the treatment of 43.1 percent of patients, prompting physicians to take steps, such as changing chemotherapy agents or adjusting doses or the duration of treatment. This data may help the groups in getting CMS to give PET usage some latitude.

To learn more about this request:
- read this Society for Nuclear Medicine press release

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