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    USPSTF reform: PSA at forefront of Capitol Hill hearing

    Bob GattyOrganized urology, including the AUA and LUGPA, made its case for U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reform during a recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

    The head of the USPSTF, the government agency that recommended in 2012 against routine PSA tests for men, said one of the key reasons that specialists like urologists are not included on the Task Force is because they may have a financial interest in the recommendations being considered.

    “Because the livelihoods of sub-specialists are often directly affected by our guidelines (thus giving the appearance of a financial or intellectual conflict) and because many sub-specialists have specific ties to the industries that make screening tests or treatments, per the USPSTF conflict-of-interest protocols, these conflicts would likely prohibit most sub-specialists from serving on the USPSTF, or at the very least would preclude them from supporting the few topics for which they have expertise,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, MAS, chair of the USPSTF, told the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee during the Nov. 30 hearing.

    “We are committed to making guidelines that are trustworthy and free of bias,” she declared.

    The hearing was to consider legislation sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), which includes a requirement that primary care and specialty care providers, along with other health care experts, are involved in the development and review of USPSTF recommendations.

    Have you read: There's something about PSA: Ben Stiller fights the good fight

    Organizations representing urologists have been among those representing specialists charging that recommendations that have a critical impact on health care policy and procedures are made without input from experts on the subject involved and that there is little that can be done once those recommendations are made.

    Next: Why urologists believe the 2012 recommendation was wrong

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

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