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  • 06.4.13

    Access to Medical Imaging Coalition Commends Rep. Blackburn for Efforts to Increase USPSTF Transparency

    Washington, D.C. – The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) today commended U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for her introduction of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 2143), which calls for significant changes to the Task Force and the process by which the group makes formal recommendations for preventive care services.

    “AMIC thanks Congressman Blackburn for her efforts to bring transparency and accountability to the USPSTF recommendation process so physicians and their patients continue to have access to the latest diagnostic imaging technologies,” said Tim Trysla, Executive Director of AMIC. “Transparency and efficiency are paramount, given the impact of the Task Force’s decisions on the millions of patients who rely on life-saving advanced imaging technologies for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of cancers and other deadly diseases each year.”

    Specifically, the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act aims to improve the Task Force’s recommendation process by requiring:

    • Task Force Members to have clinical and health research field experience;
    • Public comment on proposed research plans before engaging in research that will inform the grading of preventive services;
    • A regular update on guidelines for Task Force research plans provided by the Director of USPSTF;
    • 60-day public comment period for all recommendations on specific preventive services;
    • Reformed grade definitions on the Preventative Services five-letter grading scale;
    • Elimination of the broad authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to exempt those “non-graded” or insufficiently-graded services from Medicare coverage;
    • Task Force members to disclose conflicts of interest that they may have with regard to a particular service or product under review by the USPSTF; and
    • The creation of an “Advisory Board” for the USPSTF that will submit regular comments to the Task Force on particular services and consult with the Task Force on grading of particular services. Representation on the Advisory Board must include patient groups and provider groups.

    Over the past decade, investments in research and development have produced significant advancements in diagnostic imaging tools. For instance, advances in low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanning technology have provided physicians with new tools to diagnose cancer in patients at risk for deadly diseases like colorectal and lung cancers. However, in 2004, USPSTF said that data available at the time did not support lung cancer screening with any imaging method.

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    The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition represents physicians, medical providers, and patient organizations throughout the U.S. It also includes health technology firms that manufacture imaging equipment and supplies and that employ tens of thousands of workers. Thus, AMIC represents those who develop medical imaging technologies, those who apply it, and those who benefit from it.

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