NOTE: All in-article links open in a new tab.

Lung Cancer Awareness

Published on 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Did You Know?
  • Lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States,
  • In 2021, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimated that the number of new lung cancer cases is over 235,000, with a median age at diagnosis of 71 years; and
  • Cancer of the lung and bronchus accounted for over 130,000 deaths in 2021 (more than the total number of estimated deaths from colon, breast and prostate cancer combined), with a median age at death of 72 years.
    • Source: CMS Screening for Lung Cancer with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) Proposed Decision Memorandum (CAG-00439R)

According to the CDC’s Lung Cancer Awareness webpage (link):

  • Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and
  • Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Most people do not have symptoms until the cancer is advanced.
Why Should You Care?

You can be your own advocate to lower your lung cancer risks:

  • If you smoke, quit!
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke,
  • Get your house tested for Radon,
  • If appropriate, get screened for Lung Cancer with LDCT.

Lung cancer screening with LDCT is a covered Medicare Preventive Service and is covered annually with no copayment, coinsurance, or deductible when you meet the Medicare coverage requirements (link).

On November 17, 2021, the CMS posted proposed National Coverage Determination (NCD) and Decision Memorandum (CAG-00439R) (link) for NCD 210.14 Screening for Lung Cancer with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT).

Beneficiary Eligibility criteria:
Proposed changes to the eligibility criteria include expanding the age eligibility from 55 to 50 years and decreasing the tobacco smoking history in pack-years from thirty pack-years to twenty pack years.

Counseling and Shared Decision-Making Visit
Before a beneficiary’s first LDCT screening, the beneficiary must receive a counseling and shared decision-making visit meeting all criteria outlined in the Proposed Decision Memo.

CMS is proposing “to remove the specificity regarding the type of provider who must furnish the counseling and shared decision-making…we do not believe there is an evidentiary reason to continue to limit the shared decision-making visit to physician and non-physician practitioners. We note that this expansion can allow for this service to be furnished “incident to” a physician’s professional service. Removing the specification for the type of practitioner should expand the individuals that can conduct shared decision-making to other health care practitioners, such as health educators and others beyond physicians or non-physician practitioners. This proposed change may broaden access to LDCT screening.”

Reading Radiologist Eligibility Criteria :
CMS notes that the proposed Decision Memo “reduces the eligibility criteria for the reading radiologist and removes the radiology imaging facility eligibility criteria (including removes the requirement that facilities participate in a registry).”

What Can You Do?

As a healthcare provider, be familiar with the Medicare coverage requirements and as a healthcare consumer, you can visit the CDC’s Lung Cancer Awareness webpage (link) to learn about ways to lower your lung cancer risk, take a lung cancer screening quiz, and identify if you are an appropriate candidate for screening with LDCT.

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.