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Current Policy Priority

FORCE Comments on New Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

Screening & Prevention

Asks for Guidance on Identifying High-Risk Patients

November 23, 2020 – Today, FORCE submitted comments on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Draft Recommendation Statement for Colorectal Cancer Screening. The USPSTF is a panel of experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that reviews and develops recommendations on a broad range of preventive services. These guidelines are published to guide primary care providers in determining appropriate screening and preventive care—and to inform insurance coverage of specific preventive services.

Current USPSTF guidelines recommend that people at average risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) start screening for the disease at age 50. The proposed, updated guidelines endorse beginning CRC screening five years earlier—at age 45—for individuals at average risk of the disease. The Affordable Care Act stipulates that any preventive service receiving a USPSTF rating of "A" or "B" must be covered by most health plans with no copay or cost-sharing for the patient. Consequently, these guidelines impact access to care for many Americans.

FORCE agrees with the new recommendation but expressed concern that the Task Force does not provide sufficient guidance on identifying men and women who may be at increased risk of CRC due to hereditary/genetic factors. The USPSTF mentions that rates of colorectal cancer are higher in certain populations including, “Black adults and persons with a family history of colorectal cancer (even in the absence of any known inherited syndrome such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis).” However, it does not provide information on how to identify people with Lynch or other CRC syndromes; and, it fails to acknowledge that endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, urothelial and gastric cancers are associated with hereditary CRC syndromes.

We are asking that the Task Force expand its recommendation by providing information to assist primary care providers in assessing potential hereditary CRC risk in their patients, and referring them for genetic counseling and testing if appropriate. FORCE also plans to request that the USPSTF develop guidelines specifically aimed at screening and identifying people who may carry an inherited Lynch syndrome gene mutation. 

Read our full comments on the USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement for Colorectal Cancer Screening.

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News Briefs

12/14/2020 - Reached out to Hill leadership requesting that any end-of-year legislative package include a permanent extension of the 7.5% threshold for medical expense deductions. 

12/10/2020 - Joined over 300 national, state and community organizations in a letter to the Biden-Harris Transition Team urging the incoming administration to prioritize healthcare immediately upon taking office and outlining key priorities. 

12/9/2020 - Signed on to a letter asking Congressional leadership to include the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (HR1570/S668) in the year-end legislative package, waiving Medicare coinsurance if polyps are found/removed during a colonoscopy screening.

11/17/2020 - Sent a letter to Texas legislators expressing support for genetic counselor licensure, an important mechanism to help patients and providers identify appropriately trained and qualified genetic counseling professionals.

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Paying for Service
  • Blue Hope Financial Assistance will cover the cost of a screening test or a $300 one-time financial stipend to help cover screening-related expenses
  • ColonoscopyAssist provides cash stipends paid towards the cost of colonoscopy, free bowel preparation medicine and an interest-free payment plan for patients facing financial hardship.
  • If your insurance company denies coverage of recommended screenings, visit the Health Insurance Appeals section of our website for guidance and resources.
  • Patient Advocate Foundation provides case managers who help identify financial assistance programs and resources for those facing challenges.