Medicare decides not to cover 'virtual colonoscopy' procedureMedicare won't pay for the so-called virtual colonoscopy procedure, concluding Tuesday that there's inadequate evidence to support the cheaper, less-intrusive alternative to the dreaded colonoscopy.
By: Associated Press,
Medicare won't pay for the so-called virtual colonoscopy procedure, concluding Tuesday that there's inadequate evidence to support the cheaper, less-intrusive alternative to the dreaded colonoscopy.
Some experts had hoped that popularizing the X-ray procedure would boost screening for colon cancer, the country's second leading cancer killer. Screening to spot early cancer or precancerous growths has resulted in fewer deaths over the last two decades.
But in a decision posted on its Web site, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the test does not qualify for Medicare coverage. The memo noted that the procedure is performed on people without symptoms and cannot, in itself, rid a patient of precancerous growths, like a regular colonoscopy can.
Medicare does cover regular colonoscopies, in which a long, thin tube equipped with a small video camera is snaked through the large intestine to view the lining. Any growth can be removed during the procedure.
CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is a super X-ray of the colon that is quicker, cheaper and easier on the patient, but involves radiation.
On the Net:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/