ACR Pushes Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening with Launch of Program

The latest ACR program, Lung Cancer Screening Center, recognizes facilities screening lung cancer patients with low dose CT.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) announced the launch of its latest program, the Lung Cancer Screening Center, and is now accepting applications.

The program will recognize facilities committed to providing quality screening care to the patients with the highest risk for lung cancer, the ACR announced. Studies have shown that lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the number of lung cancer deaths. The screening is also more cost effective than other major cancer screening tools, the ACR stated.

Facilities must have an active ACR CT accreditation in the chest module and meet additional personnel, equipment and imaging protocol requirements as listed in the “ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center: Attestation Form.”

In December 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended screening for adults ages 55-80 at high risk for lung cancer. High risk was identified as adults with a 30 pack-year history that still smoke or quit within the past 15 years. The Affordable Care Act requires that private insurers cover all medical exams or procedures that receive a grade of “B” or higher (which includes CT lung cancer screening) without a co-pay. The Medicare Evidence & Coverage Advisory Committee voted earlier this month that there is not enough evidence to support Medicare’s coverage of the screening.

“Lung cancer screening in patients at high risk of acquiring the disease is the most effective way to identify tumors and reduce lung cancer deaths” Ella Kazerooni, MD, chair of the ACR Committee on Lung Cancer Screening, said in a release. “This ACR program provides for quality assurance that helps facilities consistently ensure the greatest possible lifesaving benefit from these exams and more efficiently put their patients on the path to better health.”

The ACR also launched the first edition of Lung-RADS, a quality assurance tool designed to standardize lung cancer screening CT reporting and management recommendations. The system, which came out May 1, is an effort to reduce confusion in lung cancer screening CT interpretations and facilitate outcome monitoring.

“The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation signifies to patients and payers that these lifesaving exams are provided in a safe, effective manner. Both will be looking for this quality assurance moving forward. The ACR designation is an efficient process to support robust CT lung cancer screening programs and demonstrate commitment to high-quality care,” Bibb Allen, Jr, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, said in a release.

More information about the ACR Lung Cancer Screening center is available at the ACR web site.