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    CMS halts PSA quality measure—for now

    Agency to engage stakeholders to determine future direction

    Bob GattyBob GattyWashingtonAs a result of strong opposition from organized medicine, including the AUA and patients, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has put on hold its development of a draft plan to penalize physicians for ordering “non-recommended” PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer.

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    During a month-long comment period on its draft clinical quality measure, “Non-Recommended Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)-Based Screening,” CMS received 358 comments, of which:

    • 58% contained statements opposing limitations on PSA screening for the general male adult population
    • 40% contained comments that disagreed with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines on which the draft measure is based, or with other evidence cited in the draft measure specifications
    • 34% included personal stories about patients’ experiences with prostate cancer or cancer screening.

    CMS vows to work with AUA

    In its statement announcing the suspension of the project, CMS noted that unnecessary testing can lead to overtreatment or over-diagnosis of prostate cancer, which it said may outweigh the possible benefits. However, CMS said that based on the responses it received, the agency “will continue to work with the American Urological Association as well as engage additional members of the community such as providers and patients. By taking the time to engage stakeholders in reviewing the electronic specifications, we can then determine the path forward. We seek to develop quality measures that facilitate effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered, equitable, and timely care.”

    Next: CMS “will continue to evaluate appropriate use measure concepts to address overuse and patient safety on prostate cancer screening, as well as additional measure gap areas.”

    Bob Gatty
    Bob Gatty, a former congressional aide, covers news from Washington for Urology Times.

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