Advocacy groups, healthcare organizations push for Congress to pass virtual colonoscopy bill

Patient advocacy groups and healthcare organizations, including the American College of Radiology (ACR), are urging Congress to pass HR 1969, the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act.

The bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, would provide automatic Medicare coverage of CT Colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, as a colorectal cancer screening method.

“Medicare coverage of virtual colonoscopy can increase screening, help doctors find more cancers early and avoid cancers by removing polyps before they turn cancerous,” Judy Yee, MD, chair of the ACR’s Colon Cancer Committee, said in a prepared statement. “This will save lives—particularly among those where screening rates are historically lower and outcomes not as good.” 

Supporters of the legislation are emphasizing that the bill, if passed, could benefit Latino American and black patients, who are at an increased risk of dying from colorectal cancer. Both demographic groups are also less likely to be screened for the disease than white patients.

“Latinos are less likely to get tested for colorectal cancer due to the fear associated with colonoscopy screenings, among other factors,” Jose Ortiz, president and CEO of the Hispanic Health Council, said in the same statement. “Latinos are also more likely to die from the disease. Virtual colonoscopy is a safe alternative, and will lead more Latino seniors to get screened.”

More information about the bill can be read here.