USPSTF reform bill reintroduced
Meanwhile, organizations representing urology continued their push on such key issues as reforming the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which recommended in 2012 against routine PSA tests for men.
The AUA, LUGPA, and the AACU all are urging Congress to approve the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017, introduced in January by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bobby Rush (D-IL). The bill, reintroduced after failing to win approval in past years, calls for significant changes in the USPSTF and the process by which it makes formal recommendations regarding preventive care services.
The USPSTF is an independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary caresponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Its recommendations were linked to insurance coverage by the ACA, resulting in the USPSTF determining what preventive health services health plans must provide without cost sharing.
“There has been concern regarding a number of USPSTF recommendations and their effect on limiting access to preventive care for Americans,” a Jan. 13 AUA statement said. “Therefore, it is important to ensure that the USPSTF implements procedures that allow for meaningful input on recommendation development.”
Of course, should Congress repeal the ACA, the provision linking insurance coverage to USPSTF decisions, presumably, would be deleted—unless it was picked up by replacement legislation.
“We would like to have the provisions dealing with the USPSTF completely removed from the ACA, regardless of whether it is simply modified or replaced,” Dr. Frankel said.
The Blackburn-Rush bill, the AUA said, builds upon and codifies recent USPSTF efforts to be more transparent, including to:
- publish research plans to guide its systematic review of evidence and new science relating to the effectiveness of preventive services
- make available for public comment reports on such evidence and recommendations
- codify the grading system so it cannot be changed without an appropriate review
- establish a preventive services stakeholders board to advise it on developing, updating, publishing, and disseminating evidence-based recommendations on the use of clinical preventive services
- ensure that Medicare or other payers cannot deny payment for a preventive service solely based on the task force grade.
The AUA testified last November before the House Energy & Commerce Committee, urging approval of this legislation. To advance it in the new Congress, AUA representatives have been meeting with lawmakers urging their support and can be expected to carry that same message to lawmakers during the Joint Advocacy Conference in Washington, March 5-7.