December 15, 2020
ASA Applauds House Passage of Legislation that Addresses Colorectal Screening
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1570, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act which was introduced by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr (D-NJ) and would waive coinsurance under Medicare for colorectal cancer screening tests, even if a polyp is detected and removed.
ASA has previously advocated support for legislation addressing barriers to colorectal screening and this bill was one of the key advocacy issues during ASA Legislative Conference 2018.
When CMS expanded preventative services to include anesthesia for screening colonoscopy, the agency did not extend them for diagnostic services. In 2015 comments on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, ASA wrote to "encourage the Agency to apply the essential benefits payment provisions when a screening endoscopy turns diagnostic or therapeutic - if polyps are discovered and removed during the encounter." The final rule confirmed coverage of anesthesia care for screening colonoscopies, but it did not mention any change in the method used to determine the payment amount.
ASA is pleased by legislative efforts to make these services preventative. In order to become law, the bill would still have to be passed by the Senate, with signature from the president.