Change in PET registry rules could trip up early registrants

May 9, 2006

Hundreds of facilities that preregistered for the National Oncologic PET Registry might be caught off guard by recently enacted changes, according to Dr. Barry Siegel, cochair of the NOPR working group.

Hundreds of facilities that preregistered for the National Oncologic PET Registry might be caught off guard by recently enacted changes, according to Dr. Barry Siegel, cochair of the NOPR working group.

It has now become necessary for both the referring physician and the patient to give consent for the PET imaging data to be used for research within the NOPR framework. The physician must give written consent, while the patient simply has to comply orally. Refusal of either the patient or referring physician to participate in the NOPR research will not effect reimbursement for the PET scan.

"We anticipate the majority will agree to let their data be used for research," said Siegel, director of the division of nuclear medicine at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

Since December, nearly 670 PET facilities have preregistered to participate in the NOPR, which officially launched on Monday, May 8. On that day, those facilities received an e-mail describing the updated changes.

The NOPR is a multidisciplinary effort aimed at expanding Medicare reimbursement for FDG-PET oncologic imaging. One of the first benefits of the registry could be a coverage decision to use PET for monitoring treatment for lymphoma, according to Siegel. Monitoring treatment for lung and colon cancer could follow.

He also predicted early data in the registry would show efficacy for PET to stage myeloma, diagnose and stage pancreas cancer, and restage ovarian and cervical cancer.

Coverage approval for eight or nine cancers might convince the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to grant blanket approval for all oncologic PET imaging, Siegel said.

"CMS wants this effort to be successful because it is their model for the future," he said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Launch of registry aims to advance PET reimbursement

PET registry boosts coverage outlook for rare cancers

National Oncologic PET Registry takes initial enrollment steps

Regulatory issues hamper launch of new PET registry