Our Priority: Reform the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Recommendation Process

Why the Issue Matters

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.

Fast Facts

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this situation. Health care professionals and facilities risked themselves each day while facing workforce shortages, inadequate safety supplies, and insufficient information or changing guidance from federal, state, and local government officials. And, they continue to be threatened with lawsuits based on circumstances that were beyond their control.