CMS covers colorectal cancer screening for average risk individuals age 50 and older using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and barium enema (42 CFR 410.37). On March 5, 2008, the American Cancer Society, the US Multi Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology issued new cancer screening guidelines, including a recommendation that computed tomography colonography (CTC) be considered an acceptable option for colorectal cancer screening for such individuals. CTC, also referred to as virtual colonoscopy, uses computed tomography (CT) to acquire images and advanced 2-dimensional (3D) -image display techniques for interpretation. Neither the Medicare law nor the regulations identify the CTC test as a possible coverage option under the colorectal cancer screening benefit. However, under 42 CFR 410.37(a)(1), CMS is allowed to use the NCD process to determine coverage of other types of colorectal cancer screening tests that are not specifically identified in the law or regulations as it determines to be appropriate, in consultation with appropriate organizations.
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