Medicare is in the midst of deciding whether to cover virtual colonoscopies.
I wrote two prior pieces on their pending decision::
In February, after reviewing the evidence, a federal agency simply said, “The evidence is inadequate.”
Predictably, the move created instant dissent, mainly from CT-scan makers who stand to profit handsomely from the surge in scanner sales should virtual colonoscopies (via Schwitzer) be approved.
The problem is one of cost. Although virtual colonoscopies are cheaper than the traditional route, 20 percent of these scans will find polyps that will necessitate an endoscopic colonoscopy anyways. The potential for duplicating tests, and further driving up spending, is at the center of the debate.
This will be one of the higher profile issues that will test Medicare’s resolve. Whether or not they will bow to the lobbyists will go a long way to see how serious they are to contain spending.