Our Priority: Ensure Patient Access to PSA Testing & Reform the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) Recommendation Process
Why the Issue Matters
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in the U.S. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. This year, nearly 191,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Despite this, patient access to screening for prostate cancer has been threatened by state and federal agencies as well as public and private payors.
The AUA is committed to preserving patients' access to appropriate prostate cancer testing and is working at both the federal and state levels to educate lawmakers on this important issue.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a government task force comprised of members from the fields of primary care and preventive medicine, which currently makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services without consulting patients or specialists in the management of related conditions. Through the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act, the AUA is actively working with lawmakers to reform this government body, creating transparency and accountability within the task force while also incorporating input and feedback from patients and specialists involved in treating the conditions for which recommendations are being developed. Since 2012, the AUA has advocated in support of the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act.
USPSTF recommendations on clinical preventive health services have created confusion among patients and the primary care community for years. For example, in May 2012 the USPSTF recommended against the prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) based screening test for prostate cancer in all men, regardless of risk. This decision counters the informed opinion of expert physicians, as well as decades of data and research showing early detection of prostate cancer, when in its most manageable state saves lives The insulated USPSTF process disallows meaningful contributions from medical specialists and the public who, in this case, would have provided evidence on the benefit of PSA-based screening in vulnerable populations including African Americans and men with a family history of the disease.
What the AUA is Doing
H.R. 3534, The USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act – introduced by Reps. Bobby Rush (D–IL–01), Phil Roe, MD (R–TN–01), Neal Dunn, MD (R–FL–02) and Judy Chu (D–CA–27) – would require the USPSTF to:
- Publish research plans and make available reports on such evidence and recommendations for public comment;
- Ensure medical specialty physicians are consulted;
- Establish a stakeholder board to ensure input on developing, updating, publishing and disseminating evidence-based recommendations;
- Codify the current grading system so it can't be changed without review; and
- Ensure that Medicare or other payors cannot deny payment for a preventive service solely based on the Task Force grade.
Read the AUA’s press release about H.R. 3534.
H.R. 5200, PSA Screening for HIM Act – introduced by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN-08) – would waive cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurances, for prostate cancer screenings for men who have a family history of prostate cancer or who are African-American.