About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
State rejects colonoscopy project
Dr. Karen Remley, the state health commissioner, listed several reasons for rejecting Dr. Frank DeTrane’s virtual colonoscopy project. But one of the most important may have been the issue of Medicare reimbursement.
Remley’s decision was posted on the Health Department’s Web site last week. She denied the permit that DeTrane sought to expand his gastroenterology practice in Fredericksburg. He wanted to add a CT scanner and offer virtual colonoscopy, in addition to the optical colonoscopy he does now.
The Health Department’s analysis points out that Medicare decided in May not to reimburse for virtual colonoscopy. The federal government, “after lengthy and detailed study, stated that it remained unconvinced that virtual colonography provides health benefits for enrollees of Medicare and Medicaid who are asymptomatic,” the Health Department report says.
In other words, older Americans are the age group most likely to get colon cancer, and Medicare is their primary health insurance. If it sees no cost saving or health benefit to virtual colonoscopy, then she didn’t either, Remley said.
After reading Remley’s decision, DeTrane said that he feels his project is perhaps ahead of its time. “To me, it just seems so logical and simple and coordinated,” he said.
Look for more details about DeTrane’s plan and Remley’s decision in a story in tomorrow’s paper.