Recent objections would eliminate use of routine breast cancer screening mammograms: Authors
March 19, 2016
While some groups, such as Breast Cancer Action, the National Women's Health Network, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition, supported the recommendations, their voices were drowned by "an avalanche of negative reactions from professional associations (including the American Cancer Society), patient advocates, and elected officials from both political parties," as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Ultimately, the U.S. Senate agreed to an amendment that amounted to requiring the federal government to ignore the 2009 USPSTF recommendations in the newly enacted health reform legislation, and revert to the 2002 recommendations.
Examining the reasons behind the controversy, and what it portends for CER, the authors cite communications troubles in the way that the recommendations - which took constituents by surprise - were developed and released into a "highly charged political environment," amidst broader societal concerns about government control of health care. They note that CER is "most likely to face challenges when findings call for some degree of `disinvestment' - reducing use of an established technology," as did the mammogram guidelines.
"Establishing broader support for the value of health services research, coupled with sustained efforts to communicate more effectively with the public, is crucial as the United States grapples with how best to improve the quality and efficiency of its health system," Gusmano and Gray conclude.
Source: The Hastings Center