LINTHICUM, MD, March 4, 2015 – The American Urological Association (AUA), a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, today announced its support for the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, introduced today by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and Bobby Rush (D-IL-1). This bipartisan legislation calls for significant changes to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the process by which the group makes formal recommendations regarding preventive care services.
Most importantly, the bill includes a mandate to ensure that a “balanced representation of primary and specialty care providers” and other key stakeholders in the healthcare community are involved in development and review of USPSTF recommendations.
Other key changes called for by the legislation strikes the language added by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) that directly ties Medicare coverage of a particular preventive service to the grade given by the USPSTF.
As part of this involvement, the USPSTF would be required to:
- Publish a draft research plan (including analytic frameworks, key questions and a literature search strategy as well as methodological guidelines for the project) to guide the systematic evidence review process
- Consider findings and research by federal agencies and departments
- Make the evidence review available for public comment
- Coordinate activity with other departments
- Consult with “external subject matter experts,” including provider and patient representatives.
The bill establishes a Preventive Services Task Force Board comprised of providers, patient groups and federal agency representatives. This group would provide recommendations to the USPSTF and suggest evidence for consideration, and also provide feedback on recommendations and help disseminate them when finalized.
“I am concerned that decisions are being made without proper input from the specialists who treat these diseases,” Rep. Blackburn said. “Our legislation would require common sense coordination among relevant agencies and stakeholders while protecting the doctor-patient relationship. I’m happy to join Congressman Rush in introducing this legislation to ensure that preventive care recommendations are not made in a vacuum. Patients and their physicians have the right to choose which tests are best for them.”
“The USPSTF made its prostate cancer testing recommendations without input or perspective from the urology community or any other cancer care experts and that continues to be a real concern as patients get mixed messages about testing,” said AUA Public Policy Chair David F. Penson, MD, MPH. “We don’t yet know the long-term impact that the USPSTF prostate cancer recommendations will have on U.S. men, but recent data from the National Oncology Data Alliance just presented last week indicate that men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer are presenting with higher PSA levels since 2011, perhaps due to decreased screening earlier in the disease course in response to the USPSTF recommendation. Importantly, these data show an increase in the number of higher-risk prostate cancer cases diagnosed between 2011 and 2013. Whether or not this is definitely related to the USPSTF recommendations remains to be seen, but this is what one would expect if PSA testing declined in response to the USPSTF recommendation. USPSTF could benefit from the input of specialists when evaluating these data.”
“We are pleased to have worked with Reps. Blackburn and Rush on this critical legislation.”
For more information about the AUA’s position on the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, please contact the AUA Communications office at 410-689-3932 or via e-mail to communications@AUAnet.org.
About the American Urological Association:Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 18,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.
Wendy Waldsachs Isett, AUA