AMA to USPSTF: Include specialists when preparing recommendations

June 20, 2012

The American Medical Association has called on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to incorporate consultation from specialists when preparing guidelines.

The American Medical Association has called on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to incorporate consultation from specialists when preparing guidelines.

Although not directly aimed at the recent USPSTF grade D recommendation on prostate cancer screening, the May 14 letter did mention the group’s guidance on both breast and prostate cancer.

“The American Medical Association has a long history of working with the federal government, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, specialty medical societies, and other important stakeholders to develop guidelines for, and effective means of delivery of, clinical preventive services. Moreover, we continue our efforts to develop and encourage continuing medical education programs in preventive medicine," wrote AMA Vice President James L. Madara, MD, in a letter to the current USPSTF chair and co-vice chairs.

"To that end, the AMA believes that the USPSTF could benefit from greater involvement of the relevant medical specialty societies during the preparation of its condition-specific guidelines, particularly since many of these specialists will be the ones implementing your recommendations on the ground. For example, recent USPSTF recommendations pertaining to mammography and prostate cancer would have benefited from consultation with the appropriate medical specialty societies during Task Force deliberations."

In the letter, Dr. Madara also discusses a policy adopted by the AMA House of Delegates that "encourages 'government panels and task forces dealing with specific disease entities to have representation by physicians with expertise in those diseases.' "

"We trust that the work of the Task Force will continue with full representation and input by physicians with special knowledge of the issues under consideration," Dr. Madara said.

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