Medicare will not cover virtual colonoscopies, gastroenterologists breathe a sigh of relief

CT, or “virtual”, colonoscopy is an emerging imaging test designed to screen for colon cancer.

However, the data supporting its efficacy is not conclusive, and despite several studies performed by radiologists, its accuracy does not yet match that of a traditional, endoscopic colonoscopy.

Recently, the USPSTF reviewed the evidence, and could not recommend virtual colonoscopy as an acceptable method to screen for colon cancer.

Justifiably, MedPage Today reports that Medicare will not cover CT-based colonoscopies. To no one’s surprise, the two groups that expressed strong reservations about Medicare covering the test, namely, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, also had the most to lose financially.

For now, the evidence is on their side. If the data one day tips into the favor of virtual colonoscopies, it will be interesting to see if they maintain the same degree of opposition.

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