Use of Lung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose Computed Tomography in the Medicare Population

Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2019 Feb 26;3(1):70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2018.12.003. eCollection 2019 Mar.


Objective: To describe rates of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) and all chest computerized tomography (CT) before and after Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated reimbursement and requirements for screening and to describe factors associated with receipt of LDCT.

Patients and methods: Retrospective cross-sectional study of Medicare enrollees aged 55 to 77 in Parts A and B Medicare without HMO enrollment in a 20% national sample (n=3,887,430 in 2010, 4,200,875 in 2015, and 4,145,542 in 2016). The outcomes were receipt of LDCT and any chest CT from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2016. Other measures included enrollee demographic characteristics and diagnoses, including diagnoses of tobacco use.

Results: The number of enrollees aged 55 to 77 with LDCT rose throughout 2015 and early 2016, and then plateaued. In 2016, 0.44% of enrollees, and 2.21% of those with a tobacco-use diagnosis, underwent LDCT screening. There were increases in the rate of any chest CT (LDCT or diagnostic) between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2016, and most of this was accounted for by LDCTs.

Conclusions: Two years after CMS approval for lung cancer screening reimbursement, less than 5% of the Medicare population eligible for screening received LDCT. More work is required to identify and modify the barriers for LDCT screening.

Keywords: CMS, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; CPT, current procedural terminology; HMO, Health Maintenance Organization; ICD-10, International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision; ICD-9, International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision; LDCT, low dose computed tomography; NHIS, National Health Interview Study; USPSTF, United States Preventive Services Task Force.