- CMS officials say they are dropping a controversial proposal that would have penalized physicians for ordering “non-recommended” prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests to screen for prostate cancer, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- The measure had been proposed based on the 2012 recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that argued PSA screenings result in more harm than benefit.
- The proposal resulted in debate and backlash among the urology community and other stakeholders who argue patients and physicians should be able to evaluate the risks and benefits of testing on a case-by-case basis.
The issue of connecting non-recommended tests to penalties will remain stalled and controversial as long as questions remain about the recommendation of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is said to be reevaluating its stance this year.
PSA levels can be elevated for numerous reasons, and prostate cancers can be so harmless that some providers argue it makes no sense to put most men through the testing, which can lead to surgery or radiation that are likely to be more damaging than the risk of cancer.
Meanwhile, others argue men should discuss PSA testing with their doctor and make their own decision.
“I am all for quality improvement and standardizing care, but it’s got to be something everyone agrees on, and this is not one of them,” J. Stuart Wolf, chairman of the science and quality council of the American Urological Association, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
Another issue with the measure was confusion over what it precisley it meant by “non-recommended” PSA screenings.