Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently sent a letter to Kerry N. Weems, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), advocating for Medicare reimbursement of CT colonography screening under a national coverage determination.

Currently, Medicare pays for diagnostic CTC under a local coverage determination.

In their letter, the lawmakers point to findings of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network National CT Colonography Trial published in the Sept. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Results showed that CTC is comparable to colonoscopy in its ability to detect cancer and precancerous polyps and could serve as an initial screening exam for colorectal cancer.

The Congressmen also cited recent American Cancer Society guidelines that support CTC screening for average risk patients.

“CTC exams cost as little as one-fourth as much as traditional colonoscopies,” the lawmakers commented, on the technology’s cost benefits. “If more patients get screened for colorectal cancer, fewer will get sick and incur the up to $100,000 that may be necessary for surgery, chemotherapy and doctors visit alone.”

CMS has scheduled a meeting for Nov. 19, at which time a national coverage determination for CT colonography will be discussed.