Baltimore, MD, January 13, 2017 -- The American Urological Association (AUA), a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, announced its support for the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017, 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.
The USPSTF is an independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care issues sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). USPSTF recommendations were linked to insurance coverage by the Affordable Care Act. As a result, the USPSTF now determines what preventive services health plans must provide without cost sharing. There has been concern regarding a number of USPSTF recommendations and their effect on limiting access to preventive care for Americans. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the USPSTF implements procedures that allow for meaningful input on recommendation development.
While the AUA appreciates the efforts the USPSTF has made over the years to be more transparent, this bill builds upon and codifies the efforts the USPSTF has put in place recently to enhance transparency and public input regarding the development of USPSTF recommendations, including to: (1) publish research plans to guide its systematic review of evidence and new science relating to the effectiveness of preventive services; (2) make available for public comment reports on such evidence and recommendations; (3) codify the grading system so it cannot be changed without an appropriate review; and (4) establish a preventive services stakeholders board to advise it on developing, updating, publishing, and disseminating evidence-based recommendations on the use of clinical preventive services. In addition, the bill would ensure that Medicare or other payors cannot deny payment for a preventive service solely based on the Task Force grade.
“Because of the crucial role it plays in the delivery of preventive care, creating a more open and transparent process within the USPSTF remains a top priority within the AUA,” said AUA Public Policy Council Chair Dr. Chris Gonzalez. “We thank Ms. Blackburn and Mr. Rush for their continued leadership in this endeavor.”
In November 2016, the AUA testified before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health regarding USPSTF reform. The AUA is among a coalition of physicians and patient groups in the urologic community urging the USPSTF to reform its process of developing recommendations. The coalition also includes the American Association of Clinical Urologists and the Large Urology Group Practice Association (LUGPA), who collectively represent virtually all the nation’s urologists.
For more information about the AUA’s position on the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017, 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 22,000 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