11/9/2013 10:43:00 PM Technology is ahead of insurers
by Elizabeth Brown, M.D. Breast Center of Greensboro Imaging
In response to a GRIPE published in last week's Northwest Observer, I would like to provide some information about 3D mammography or tomosynthesis, which is now available at the Breast Center of Greensboro Imaging. 3D mammography is an FDA-approved type of mammogram that allows the breast to be imaged in multiple layers, instead of a single snapshot.
This helps with the problem of overlapping tissue, which can hide or mimic breast cancer. In multiple large clinical trials, 3D mammography has been shown to significantly increase cancer detection and decrease unnecessary callbacks. 3D mammography has been shown to be particularly helpful in women with dense breasts.
State of the art technology is costly to centers which seek to provide the highest quality care to their patients. With most new technology, the benefit to patients is proven long before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and insurance companies change their policies and agree to pay for the studies on behalf of their insured customers. As a result, many new and proven technologies are not covered by Medicare/Medicaid or the major insurers.
A large grassroots campaign is underway to educate Congress and insurance companies about the benefits of 3D mammography. Insurance companies need to hear from their customers before these policies are changed. Hopefully these voices will be heard soon, and 3D mammography will be covered fully just as digital mammography is today.