More than 60 patient advocacy and medical organizations have joined a coalition led by the Lung Cancer Alliance, the American College of Radiology, and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons in pushing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for patients at high risk of lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology are among those who in a joint letter to CMS called for the agency to provide screening benefits to patients aged 55 to 80 years old who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years. The United States Preventive Services Task Force previously gave the condition a grade B recommendation. Under the Affordable Care Act, private insurers will begin covering the procedure in 2015, but no similar provision was made for Medicare beneficiaries.

The letter outlines conditions under which CMS should cover screening and requested that the agency support existing data registries and screening infrastructure. The full text of the letter can be read on the ACR website.

“The American Cancer Society carefully considered the evidence supporting screening for lung cancer with low dose CT scans and issued a guideline recommending screening for people at high risk based on age and smoking history. This vital new screening tool is required by law to be available to most individuals with commercial insurance, but not those covered by Medicare. It’s time to extend coverage to all who may benefit from screening,” said Richard C. Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society. “We look forward to working with other interested parties to encourage Medicare to cover lung cancer screening and ensure that the exams are delivered in a high quality manner.”

For more information on the struggle to adopt LDCT lung cancer screening, read Teri Yates’ feature, “Smoke Screening.”